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            A few interesting things Alabama players said in open week

            MFB

            Alabama WR John Metchie catches a pass Saturday against Mississippi State.Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics

            Having an open week meant a slower week on the interview front for Alabama football players. A few stopped by the interview room Wednesday for the now-standard video conference with reporters.

            A few highlights from the afternoon conversations:

            -- There were a few Canadian reporters on the call who had a number of questions for John Metchie, the Alabama WR from north of the border. They had a few questions about his role as a Canadian doing big things in American football. “I wouldn’t say I feel the eyes of the country watching me, but I definitely feel prideful about being from Canada,” Metchie said. “And just being a kid from Canada, given the chance to play here at Alabama, I’m extremely grateful for it, and I definitely don’t take it for granted.”

            -- Does he think he’s opening doors for Canadians in American football? “I’m trying to,” he said. “I just wanna show kids from Canada that they can really do anything they put their minds to, especially if they wanna play football at the highest level.”

            -- Back to the team, Metchie was asked if he thought QB Mac Jones was trying to prove people wrong. “I think what Mac has done best is take control of the offense and lead the offense as a whole,” Metchie said. “And as far as proving people wrong, I feel like that’s something, as a team, we’re all trying to do.”

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            -- Offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor answered a question about Jones referring to him only by his nickname. “Yeah, Joker, I expected this all along,” Ekiyor said. “He’s balled out. When he took over for Tua, and all camp and everything. I have all the confidence in the world in Mac. None of this has surprised me at all. I feel like he’s going to continue to do what he’s doing and look forward to keep getting better.”

            -- In a light-hearted moment, Metchie was asked if it’s fair for the offensive linemen to get to jog down the field on big plays when he has do to do the sprinting. “Yeah, I definitely think that’s fair,” he said. “Big guys keep me out of the trenches, and that’s not a place that I’d like to be.”

            -- Alabama DL Phidarian Mathis made a few tackles for loss in recent weeks including a sack last week against Mississippi State. How does he assess the pass rush? “It’s been real great. When you’re coming along real well with the pass rush you gotta — like coach always tells them you gotta earn the right to pass rush by stopping the run first. So I mean once we get to stopping the run that’s when we get to pass rush and when we get the chance to pass rush that’s when we get the good chance to get after the QB. You gotta affect them well for our DBs.”

            -- Mathis has enjoyed watching sophomore DL Byron Young make progress. “Aw man. Byron, he’s been surprising because you know when he get into the game it just like — it comes out of nowhere,” Mathis said. “It’s just amazing to see him come along. We really need that spark from the d-line. For him to step up and when his time come just take it as a motivation because I mean all the young guys (are) stepping up and for him to step up too it’s been crazy just to see Byron come along well.”

            -- Mathis, a Louisiana native, is looking forward to his shot to play at LSU next Saturday evening. “Man, it’s going to be a big game. I can’t wait to get back home in front of my family and friends. I know those guys are going to give their best, so we got to prepare good for those guys and just be ready when the time comes.”

            -- Several opposing head coaches have called this Alabama offensive line one of the best they’ve seen. LSU’s Ed Orgeron joined that group Wednesday morning. Ekiyor doesn’t mind that praise. “We really appreciate all the compliments, but we try not to focus on that too much. We try to keep getting better every week and prepare the best we can,” he said. “As a group, we really just want to prove that we’re in the best offensive line in the country. That’s really something we set as one of our goals as we came into the season. Every week we work on getting better and trying to keep leveling up and keep playing better to prove we are the best O-line in the country. That’s one of our goals and we keep working towards that.”

            Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande or on Facebook.

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