Nick Saban hinted at it and Jase McClellan confirmed it: he's a go for the Rose Bowl after missing the SECCG with an injury. Here's what McClellan told media covering the CFP semifinal game about that and more:

"I feel great with this time together, just get ready, get some time and just get back ready. So I feel good. I have a foot injury, banged up. Gave us some time off.

"I was trying not to miss the SEC championship game. They told me it was the best idea just to miss it.

"It was hard seeing my team out there, watching my team out there without me. Not being able to play with them, that was hard."

On Michigan's run defense

"We talked about that. That's a great challenge for us, running the football. Those guys move up front, move around, they swim, loop a lot. The linebackers come in and plug a lot. That's going to be a great challenge for us."

On how it felt getting back on the practice field

"I feel 100%. Still getting time, so a couple more days to game time. It's even better.

"I was getting used to playing with the pain. I'm still working with that."

On the progress through the season of the offensive line

"I think it's been great progression. Couple young guys on the offensive line, especially freshmen, Kadyn [Proctor]. Just seeing his development and seeing them as a whole. It was great for them.

"Big guys take up more than one person, just creating holes, moving people. That's great for them."

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On playing in the Rose Bowl

"It's been something to think about. Rose Bowl one of the first great games. Just taking part in history. We can create history in this game. It's great."

On Michigan's running backs

"I see same thing we harp on in our running back room: toughness, physicalness. Those guys push downhill, shift, making space moves. Something we seen."

On his favorite Terrion Arnold story

"Man, Terrion got a story every day. Yeah, team comedian. He has a story every day, something he did. I ain't got a favorite one, but all of 'em funny.

"Like Monday, we had a walk-through practice. He blogging on his camera. He came in, said something. He said something. Like, (Indiscernible) go against the defense. It was funny, man. Just be in the moment, pretty funny. His own personal camera down here. He been bringing it every day."

On leaving bad plays behind

"Focus and attention to detail. Remember why we're running some plays, what everybody's job is on each play. That's going to build consistency."

On LANK [Let All Naysayers Know]

"Just the meaning behind it, just building us as a brotherhood, closing our bond. Everybody just taking part in the meaning behind it, just keeping it going.

"It was back in the summer, [Jalen Milroe] first said it. What you mean? Keep saying it. Then he finally told us, like, what it meant behind, the definition. Keep it around."

On playing for an Alabama team people doubted early

"It's been a challenge for us. Just starting from the beginning week two, week three, everybody hung us out after that loss. But we all had our backs, knew what we had to do, bought into the process to get where we are today.

"I believe it was still early. I believe all the criticism we got, it was just 'cause of what we did in that [Texas] game. So if they feel like we deserved it, what we did now."

On next year's 12-team playoff

"I think it will be a great adventure into it. Make sure that the best teams have an opportunity to play for the championship. Kind of the thing we had going on this year, people getting left out. Just showing everybody who really deserves it."

On his thoughts when he learned Bama was playing Michigan

"I was thinking just basically thinking about the matchup. They're known for their defense. Harped on them being physical, solid up front. Just thinking about that. What is our challenge going to be as a running back. Just thinking about that, yeah.

"I've seen those guys on film, see that they move a lot up front. Linebackers are solid and firm. They plug gaps, come in hard. Just seeing that all around as a running back, I see it's going to be a challenge for us. They lead the nation in yards.

" I would say similar size, compare to Tennessee, A&M."

On Jalen Milroe's running ability

"Basically seeing him, like, get vision as a runner, true vision. Those plays we call for him, actually seeing where to go with the ball, following the blockers. As a running back, too, seeing him running the ball, open up the plays for us. Great to see that.

"Trying to contain him... If you lose an extra player, just try to stop him from running. When you drop that extra player, it opens up lanes for him. That's a challenge.

"I feel like [his passing] is something they worked on in the quarterback room, just him going through his progressions. Something we harped on. Especially with running backs."

On Nick Saban staying youthful at 71

"Coach Saban, he's still in his youth a little bit. He jokes and stuff. His connection with us. I feel like he's truly trying to connect with us, just being our team, listening to us more, just seeing what we feel like. He actually, like, listens. He tells us stuff, then he listens what we want from him, what we want to see.

"Probably like his coaching style. People who know him, seeing the video clips of him being tense in practice pretty much. He hasn't been kind of like that this year. Been falling back on that part, his progression.

"It was pretty much a surprise. When I first got here, he was like almost every day 'aggressive Coach Saban,' seeing that.

"He says this all the time, They don't make 'em like they used to. That's probably what he meant by that."

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Gallery Credit: Mary K

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