‘Book ‘Em, Dano!’
For those that remember the old TV series 'Hawaii Five-o,' the phrase 'Book 'em Dano' was a staple. They call Alabama's top offensive guard 'Book.'
Tyler Booker at left guard has become a pivotal figure on the 2023 Alabama offensive line. He took a few minutes, OK, more than a few, to speak with media covering the Rose Bowl this week. Here's a look at what 'Book' had to say.
On his best Terrion Arnold story
"Oh, my gosh. Right before USF, we're all in the training room getting a little bit of treatment. I forget who is the primary kick returner at the time, Kendrick [Law]. He said, Man, I'm going to go back there and I'm going to take it back. I'm like, Yeah, right. Terrion take it back during USF. He made a few like that this year. After he did that the first time, Let's see him doing it again.
"He's been a great player, role model in his position room, great role model for everybody on the team as well. Proud of the way he's been performing."
On his favorite Isaiah Bond story
"Fourth and 31. I don't think there's a better Isaiah story. You know what I mean?"
On the evolution of the 2023 Alabama offense
"We've grown so much, done a lot better executing. What I mean by that is trusting Coach Rees' play calls. I'm not saying we didn't trust them earlier on, but really fully buying in. Once we did that, we run the ball, pass the ball, run the ball. It became more balanced. Really keeps the defense on their toes.
"Then we have a quarterback like Jalen that is a third threat. Hard to account for everybody.
[Rees has] grown so much. I feel like it was just going to take its own process. If you look at us, we have a whole bunch of new starters, new coordinator. Of course, there are going to be growing pains. I'm glad we got over them pretty quick.
"We built another level of comfortability with one another. We all really mesh and grew. Coach Rees found what we like to do as an offensive line earlier on in the game. He's finding tendencies. He's doing his best to break tendencies so the defense can't tee off on us. He's really smart. He's perfect for the job."
On the low point of the season
"Probably USF game. We don't want to disrespect one opponent. We don't want to take an opponent lightly. I feel like we did that going into that game. After that game, everybody looked at themselves individually, How do we want this season to end? There's only up from here. We were at the bottom. How are we going to rise? What are we going to do in order to rise, to get to where we want to get to?"
On the role of the offensive line
"Our job is to dominate our box, but at the same time support whoever is back there, give them their full support like we got you, let's go ball, let's go win."
On the season-long progress of Kadyn Proctor
"I'm not sure if it was a light bulb moment. I think it was gradual success, him gradually getting better, him being committed to getting better week by week.
"I feel like the bye week was crucial for him. We were able to slow a lot of things down for him, go into depth on technique, what he needs to do in order to become the player he is today and continue to get better.
"I feel like his approach taking it one week at a time, one day at a time, is what allowed him to have so much success late in the season.
"I don't think it was one big technical point. It was just really him focusing on technique and being consistent with it.
"Day in and day out during practice, some plays, he's gotten a lot more consistent. I'm very proud of him for that. See how he progresses his career. The sky's the limit for him. He has all the physical intangibles. Great guy. Really smart. It just takes time. Some things take time."
On resetting the Alabama standard this year
"It was a big priority this year because we knew people counted us out after losing Bryce, Will, Jahmyr, people really were like, Oh, my gosh, what is this Alabama team going to look like? They already counted us out before the Texas loss and the USF game.
"Now being back to where we are, we just got to finish that job of proving that we're the standard. Have to do everything in our power to win this week, focus on that.
"Being the standard, it really means a lot because that's why I came to Alabama, for the standard. To hear somebody challenge that on national TV, you're going to take that personally as a competitor. To go out and win that Georgia game, it meant a lot for me, but everybody in the program as well.
"We have to continue to prove that, live up to that this Monday. We're going to do that by playing Alabama football."
On what drove him this year
"I saw that during the national championship last year when I was sitting at home, had a lot of time to reflect, to look at external factors when I was sitting at home not playing. Just remembering that, let that drive me. It's all about how you process and channel what you let come to you.
"I think as a team we definitely came out and performed and showed that we are the standard during the SEC championship. You know what I mean? Georgia is a great football team. One of the best in the nation. In order for us to beat them essentially at home, how far from Athens, hour and a half, essentially at home, meant a lot."
On his relationship going back to IMG Academy with JC Latham
"Building a relationship with JC was a very crucial point in my life. JC is a brother of mine. My parents consider him a son. That's how close we are.
"I was going through the IMG. It looks pretty good on the outside, but it's a pretty tough place to be. It's the Alabama of high school football. I say that because there's not much to do around there. You just really have to be built different in order to sustain and be away from your family, really just grow up in order to be a college student at 14, 15 years old. That's major.
"Me and JC having that in common, seeing he came to Alabama and how much he matured, that was another reason of mine coming to 'Bama. Even on the offensive line now, we were brought up with some of the same core values of offensive line play and how football players are supposed to play, how the game of football is supposed to be played. Having that in common with him, that's just crucial to the relationship that we have. Also being leaders on this team. I'm very blessed to be playing with my brother.
"It was instant. As soon as I got there, me and JC, we were always together. You know what I mean? To be able to play with him now... It's really three of us, me, JC and Greg Crippen, offensive lineman for Michigan.
"Man, it's a dream come true. I remember running sprints before practice just to get better. It's really great that we've all made it here. I'm really excited to see Greg on Monday, but most importantly I'm excited to ball out with JC and his game.
"Greg and I were roommates actually. It's a mutual respect."
On his brief time in the backfield at IMG
"Tyler Booker is the worst fullback of all time. I'll send you guys the clip. We were playing in Ravenwood, Tennessee. This is a funny story. It was just inside going to the right. All JC have to do is block somebody. He where I was. The person he was supposed to block is junior college. Funny that you bring that up.
"J.J. handed me the ball. J.J. was the quarterback. That's a funny little story for you guys to talk about.
On playing in the Rose Bowl
"It's a very historic game. A blessing to be able to play in the Rose Bowl. My dad is a college football fanatic. He always dreamed of me playing in the Rose Bowl. So to be able to live this dream with him is very great.
"One thing, something else I'm grateful for is that I don't have to drive out here. I saw the gas prices. That's insane. 4.39. Traffic is bad. Oh, my God. I'm having a great time here, but I have a newfound appreciation for Tuscaloosa (laughter)."
On Nick Saban
"He's been the same since I've been here. You have to ask one of the older players. You have to ask them because this is the only Coach Saban I've known.
He's still Coach Saban. He'll still turn up on you, but probably not as much as the old days.
"I don't feel like it's softening him. I feel like he's becoming wiser in a sense and finding different ways to communicate with players because as time goes on, people change. There's not a lot of those old school 'Bama players that eat dirt, chew glass (laughter). Not a lot of us left around.
"He just has to learn how to communicate with people differently. I feel like he's done a great job of evolving as a coach. I don't see him getting soft, I see it as him growing and finding different ways to communicate with him."
On playing No. 1 Michigan
"Very excited because I knew what kind of defense Michigan had. You know what I mean? Statistically they're the number one defense in the nation. They present a lot of exotic blitzes on third down. Most importantly, they have a great defensive front. Top to bottom, they're very technically sound, athletically gifted and move really well. It's going to be a challenge for us. We're excited to go towards it.
"It's motivation just to go out and perform against them. It's always great to get a gauge of where you are as an offense or who you really are as a team. You really get those gut checks, those heart checks when you play a team like Michigan.
That's why you come to a school like Alabama, to play in these high-level games."
Alabama's Second Spring Scrimmage 2022