Iron Bowl practice update

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Alabama and Auburn continue preparation for next week’s Iron Bowl. Alabama continues to work on fundamentals and getting healthy.

“Practice has gone pretty well the last couple of days,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said after Wednesday’s practice. “We have a lot of guys nicked up. We have some guys getting a chance to get healthy and work on some fundamentals. We’ve had a chance to work on some things we have not seen this year from any other teams that we will see. We have been working against each other to improve fundamentally. The things we are trying to do is get our players to focus on attention to detail and things we are trying to do right now.”

Injury update
Will Oakley had surgery on his shoulder and it was successful, Saban announced. He is expected to miss two games at a minimum.

Alabama’s offense
While Alabama has run the ball effectively this year it doesn’t mean Nick Saban has forgotten about the pass. Saban said the team hasn’t done anything consciously to throw the ball less this year, it just sort of happened as the team developed its tough identity. Saban was emphatic that he continues to believe in balance.

“I still think the most important thing that we can do offensively is create balance in what we do,” Saban said.

Not that running the ball is a bad thing, but running the ball should open up other opportunities.

“We should be taking advantage of being a good running team by how we are able to throw the ball,” Saban said.

What does Alabama need to accomplish that balance? Other players need to step up.

“It is something we’ve needed to work on all year—our efficiency and effectiveness in the passing game,” Saban said. “Not from John Parker’s standpoint, but from protection, route running—people getting open, being consistent. We have not gotten where we want to be.”

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Saban said Wilson’s efficiency is better this year and pointed out Wilson’s interceptions are down this year compared to last season. Last year Wilson tossed 12 interceptions for the season. Through 11 games in 2008, Wilson has tossed only five interceptions. Wilson has a 124.8 efficiency rating and has thrown for 1,775 yards.

“His judgement, his decision making has been a real positive for us,” Saban said.