TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — If Ryan Anderson and Alabama’s defense treat opposing offensive players hatefully, it’s not personal.

It’s just business.

“It’s what defenders do,” said Anderson, a Crimson Tide linebacker. “Mostly, we’re all hateful guys. We hate everybody on the other team. Everybody that’s lined up across from us, we hate you; we’re trying to kill you.”

No. 1 Alabama certainly played with that sort of ferocity last Saturday in shutting out LSU and smothering star tailback Leonard Fournette – again. Afterward, when Coach Nick Saban said the Tide has some “pretty hateful guys” on defense, he meant it as a compliment.

Alabama leads the nation in rushing defense and sacks per game and is second in total yards allowed and scoring defense going into Saturday’s game against Mississippi State.

And hatin’ with a vengeance. Anderson might have stated it more strongly than Saban would prefer, but the coach doesn’t want his defensive guys playing nice so long as they play by the rules.

“We want a guy that’s going to go hit a guy that weighs 250 pounds running downhill as hard as he can hit him,” the coach said.

Saban tells the story of his time with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns when the franchise brought in a guy to administer a psychological test to draft prospects. Chances are he didn’t interpret the results quite the same way as an accounting firm.

“I looked at the guy and said, ‘What are we hiring these guys to do? We want them to be aggressive, we want them to be competitive, not in the real world but at least on the football field,’ ” Saban said. “These characteristics are important in defensive players. We’re evaluating these guys as to what they’re like on Sundays, which may not be the same.”

For instance, off the field it wouldn’t have been socially acceptable when defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne completely disrupted one first-half play after sending LSU guard Josh Boutte tumbling onto his backside. On the field, it was Alabama being Alabama.

The Tide held LSU to 125 yards and six first downs in a 10-0 victory, earning the entire defense Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week honors. It’s only the second time that award has gone to a defense collectively.