Saban previews Spring

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Nick Saban talked to the press Tuesday about the start of spring practice. While he covered some nuts and bolts for reporters about injuries and off-season conditioning, the big items were a vote of confidence for John Parker Wilson, and a plea for another record A-Day turnout by fans.

Saban said on arrival that fans make a difference. He hit that theme again when he asked for fans to come out this Spring in the same way–and make 2008 as good as 2009.

“Last year’s great support of the A-Day game was a way they (the fans) made a tremendous contribution to what has happened here relative to recruiting,” Saban said. “People have a very positive attitude about Alabama.”

With the Gridiron Bash competition, the fans can land considerable money for the University’s scholarship program. He also said he is looking forward to the concert.

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John Parker Wilson
While some fans may want a new quarterback, it doesn’t sound like Saban wants one.

“I think there is competition at every position, but John Parker is our quarterback until somebody beats him out,” Saban said. “We feel like he has the capability to be an outstanding quarterback for us. He played oustanding at times last year. There were times last year where his consistency was not where we would like for it to be.”

The new offensive coordinator could be a big step at gaining more consistency for Wilson, Saban hinted. While Saban didn’t take a shot at former offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, Saban was trying to impress last year’s problem was more a coaching issue than a quarterback issue.

“I feel really good about the approach and the opportunity our quarterback would have to play with a little bit more consistency,” Saban said about the new offensive coordinator.

Saban also praised Wilson’s off-season leadership, and his work in the off-season conditioning program.

Other items:
Saban went over many more issues including injury reports, and goals for the spring. For those worried about the defense, there is still a big concern: Zeke Knight has not been cleared to practice due to medical reasons. He said the off-season program was making progress.

“Big difference a year has made relative to our ability to sustain performance and consistency,” Saban said. “I’ve been very pleased with the attitudes of the players in the fourth quarter program.”

What happens this Spring:
1. Try to develop a higher standard of consistency in performance, so our players can sustain at a higher level. We want each player to improve and be as good a player as he can be.
2. Teaching. This is the most enjoyable part of coaching relative to being able to teach your players your system. Spending a lot of time on the details of what to do, and why it is done that way. Makes sure people do their jobs correctly. Will be important to development of the younger players on team, Saban said.
3. Some evaluation because coaches want to get best players on the field. Also, coaches want to know what the players have to do to continue to get better.
Not excited about depth charts during spring because: “We want to give everybody an opportunity to compete,” Saban said. He wants everybody to feel like if they do things the right way with the right attitude, they could contribute to the team. “We are more interested where the depth chart is at the end of Spring.”