ORLANDO _ It was a small out-of-the way room where interviews were being conducted Sunday morning, but when players from the other teams arrived their eyes all said the same thing:
"Hey, there's the Heisman Trophy winner."
University of Alabama junior running back Mark Ingram happened to be sitting just inside the doorway, making him impossible to miss, fielding questions from the handful of reporters on hand.
While the Crimson Tide held its first team function at the Capital One Bowl, participating in the "Day For Kids" with area youths and players from both Michigan State and those playing the Champs Sports Bowl, North Carolina State and West Virginia (which are playing here Tuesday night), Ingram took a few minutes to answer some questions from BamaOnline:
We asked you last week about playing Michigan State, but is it even more special because of your grandfather who passed away during training camp?
"Um, yeah. He played there and I know that if he was here it would be a fun game for me. It is special to me. I think it's special to everyone in my family."
Are you still hearing about it from your friends back home?
"A little bit from everybody, I just came from home so everyone up there is excited about it. It'll be fun, an exciting game for me, my family and everyone from Michigan."
You made it home for Christmas?
Two days. I had to leave yesterday at noon.
No trouble with the weather?
No, we got out.
What do you hope to accomplish at this game?
"We just want to be ourselves, go out and have a flawless game. We haven't played a perfect game yet. We've played a perfect first half, we've played 58 minutes. We've played a great second half. It's just time for us to go out and put all the pieces together and play a full 60-minute game and show the whole country what Alabama is all about."
Has there been much talk about losing the last game two years ago and being flat in the Sugar Bowl against Utah?
"No, not at all. I think this is completely different. People keep bringing that up but it's a completely different situation. Completely different mood as far as that goes."
How have practices gone?
"Practices have been going well. Before we left for the break we had some great practices. Everyone's picking it up, getting back into the swing of things. Hopefully we'll pick it up where we left off and keep it rolling."
I'm sure you're already sick of being asked, but have you made a decision about whether to stay or go pro?
Is there anyone who's a senior who you're like 'Wow, this is the last time I'll play with this guy' kind of thing?
"All those guys were here when I got here. Greg (McElroy) and Preston (Dial). When James (Carpenter) came in I remember we were recruiting him when I was a freshman. All those guys, they're good friends to me, ever since day one. The fact that I may never play with them any more ... they're all great teammates and great friends to me. It's just a weird feeling."
You have a good Christmas?
"Yeah. Any time I get to spend with my family is good, so I'm appreciative of that."