Practice buzz-August 14, 2008

Saban confirms better attitude this year
We’ve been hearing since camp began that attitudes were better. Saban’s confirmed that, and Chris Low has a couple of great quotes from his conversation with Alabama’s coach.

What’s the biggest difference for you two weeks into preseason camp from this time a year ago?
NS: The attitude of this team has been very, very good. They worked hard in the summer. The leadership is better. We have more young players on this team than a year ago — only nine seniors — so we have to be very conscious of the development process with those guys. I’ve always been a load-the-wagon guy, put it all in and when the game comes, pare it back to what you know they can do. We probably hit a little overload with these guys this year, which is different. But the biggest thing is that the attitude of the players on the team has been really good. They buy into what we’re doing. They work hard, and the team chemistry has been a real positive.

Sounds like there were some guys who didn’t buy in last year. How much did that hurt your leadership a year ago?
NS: There’s no question that happened. It’s hard to have leadership if the leaders don’t reinforce the principles and values of the organization. If you don’t have it, it detracts from the organization moving forward. Everybody’s got a job to do and they have to do their job at a high level. We have to set the standard for that. We have to set the standard for how the organization is going to get represented. They’ve got to buy into it and do the work that needs to be done, and we need to support them and help them the best we can.

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Over the hump
As the team moves toward the regular season, Saban said the dreary days of two-a-days have been replaced with renewed enthusiasm. He said the team is over the “hump.”

Camp is winding down. Need proof? Alabama’s second and final scrimmage of fall camp is set for Saturday. And next week, the Tide begins to enter preparation work for Clemson. Up until now, the Tide has done some game situations, and limited work against certain schemes. Saban said by the middle of next week that will be ramping up.

Extra quotes from Saban
“I think the players are probably in the mood to play against somebody else,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said following Thursday’s practice. “I think (Wednesday) the last day of two-a-day was probably the hump day for them. We had a lot better practice today, a little more intensity and enthusiasm and more guys playing with the kind of intensity we’d like to see out there on a day-to-day basis. I think we made some improvement.

“I’ve been pleased with the way we’ve progressed offensively. We are throwing and catching the ball fairly well and (senior quarterback) John Parker ( Wilson ) is having a good camp so far. His leadership has been a real positive so far in the development of our offensive team.

“I think the biggest thing with our young players is they need to be able stay focused on the process of what they need to do to be complete players at their position. They tend to personalize everything, because they are frustrated they are not getting the kind of results they would like to get. In some cases, they probably came in and thought they’d be able to make some significant impact and some of them will be able to do that. The process of getting them to where they need to be to do it is a little more difficult sometimes, because they’ve got to be able to not get frustrated and be able to stay focused on the things they need to do to get better.

“We’re kind of happy to be out of two-a-days ourselves. Although the way the schedule is now, you really only have four two-a-days. I am pleased and happy with the way we went through it and we’ve been able to stay fairly healthy, knock on wood, and hopefully we can continue to do that and continue to improve as a team and practice smart so that we’re able to do that. We’re making progress. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re not disappointed with where we are and we’re anxious to continue to the make the improvements we need to make to become a good football team.”