And watching it happen was quite refreshing.
It was a reminder that athletics is about competition, not only against an opponent but often against ones own person competing to be the best he can be.
The competitive spirit produces emotion that often is chained, beaten down and put in its place.
Sometimes emotion is unrestrained and made into a production. I'm not a fan of the defensive player who stands up and swings his arms back and forth, giving the "no good" sign, after he makes a tackle against a running back who gained 11/2 yards on third-and-2.
It's the genuine emotion that we see so little of and that we got a glimpse of on Monday, thanks to Jerrell Powe and Nick Saban, who will be 60-minute combatants this Saturday when Ole Miss travels to Alabama.
"We can go out and be the second team to beat them, and it will be just as sweet as being the first team. They're almighty Alabama," Powe said.
Ole Miss hasn't been on the plus side of a scoreboard against Alabama since 2003 and has won in Tuscaloosa just once in 24 attempts, that coming in 1988.
Powe believes the Rebels can win, and he expressed that belief Monday in a confidence that bordered on cockiness.
You can agree or disagree with Powe's view of the landscape. If the Rebels are going to win, Powe's defense needs to get a lot better on the back end, defending the pass. He and his line mates need to shut down the Alabama run game the way South Carolina did, a difficult task given the way Ole Miss is still trying to find itself at defensive end.
On offense the Rebels should take a cue from the Head Ball Coach and get 6-foot-7 wide receiver Melvin Harris involved against a secondary that struggled against the very talented and physical Gamecocks receiver Alshon Jeffery. Harris says he's up to the task and, like Powe, is a believe in what could happen Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.
To make it happen the Rebels must also run the ball the way they have in recent weeks, but their revamped offensive line will face defenses far better than it saw against Fresno State and Kentucky.
Like Powe, Saban brought out his emotion, allowing a PG-rated curse word to slip in a press conference setting. He immediately apologized.
Following Alabama's 35-21 loss, Saban gave credit to a quality South Carolina team but also pointed out the areas in which his team could have played better.
The language slip was un-Saban-like for a coach who can be condescending but isn't an on-the-record curser. Once upon a time there might have been a private moment in a press conference, but not anymore in the age of media immediacy, and coaches, public figures much more than in the era many of them grew up in, have to be on guard even more.
It showed, however, Saban's passion for his job, his quest for perfection and his frustration with a loss that has emboldened his opponents.
Arkansas showed it could probably be done. South Carolina proved it could be done.
Ole Miss players believe lightning can strike twice in two weeks if they play at the necessary level, which is to say near-perfect, if they channel their emotion and confidence and use it to their advantage as well.
Believing doesn't guarantee success, but doubt spread throughout a football team guarantees failure.
Parrish Alford (email@example.com) covers Ole Miss for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily about Ole Miss athletics at NEMS360.com.