Reds catcher Johnny Bench helps Cincinnati football prepare for Alabama with Wiffle Ball

Erik Hall
The Tuscaloosa News
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Hall of Fame Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench helped the Cincinnati Bearcats football team prepare for Alabama and the College Football Playoff semifinal with a game of Wiffle Ball on Thursday.

Bench participated in the game prior to Thursday's UC Bearcats football practice in Arlington, Texas.

ESPN reporter Molly McGrath said during Friday morning's "College GameDay" that, "(Cincinnati) head coach Luke Fickell trying to find a balance between preparing for this game and having fun, because he doesn't want his players to get burned out or be too tight for this game." 

McGrath said Cincinnati practiced for under an hour Thursday, and that included their Wiffle Ball game with Bench. 

"Fickell feels confident loosening the reigns with this team, because he trusts them," McGrath said. 

Cincinnati football shared a video of Bench playing catcher while UC Bearcats defensive lineman Myjai Sanders took some swings at a Wiffle Ball. Bench stopped Sanders to check his bat after a couple of swings and misses.

Bench shared a photo of himself with some members of the Cincinnati Bearcats football staff that he said was prior to taking the bus to the walkthrough and Wiffle Ball game. 

The Cincinnati vs. Alabama football game is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. CT on Friday, Dec. 31. 

Alabama, ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Sports AFCA Coaches Poll, comes into the matchup 12-1 overall. Most recently, Alabama defeated Georgia 41-24 on Dec. 4 in the SEC Championship. 

The No. 4-ranked UC Bearcats enter the game 13-0 overall. On Dec. 4, Cincinnati beat Houston 35-20 in the AAC Championship. 

Entering their CFP semifinal, Alabama leads the all-time series 5-0 vs. the Cincinnati Bearcats. 

Here's more Alabama, Cincinnati football news: 

Former Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench waives while standing next to the Joe Morgan plaque from the Baseball Hall of Fame on Joe Morgan Day before MLB baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Nick Saban is the Alabama football head coach. Luke Fickell is the Cincinnati Bearcats football head coach. 

Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik

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