Football: Saban speaks, Hightower & links

Alabama’s Nick Saban spoke to the press Wednesday during the SEC teleconference. Here is a few excerpts courtesy of UA:

Head Coach Nick Saban participated in the SEC Head Coaches Teleconference on Wednesday and here are some of those comments:
On the difficulty of moving the ball against SEC defenses:
“I do think there are a lot of good defensive teams in the league this year. I think that it makes it a lot more difficult for offensive teams, no doubt. We’ve played three or four really good defensive teams in the last few weeks and sometimes things don’t go as well as maybe they did earlier in the season when you were playing against lesser defensive people. I’ve always said in this league, to me the biggest difference is, there are defensive linemen in this league that can rush and are more athletic and there’s also better cover people at the skill positions on defense. I think that has a huge impact on offenses. I think in our case, we want to continue to try and improve offensively so that we can execute against the better defensive teams.”

On SEC defenses being better now than when he coached at LSU:
“It’s hard for me to make a comparison. I think each year there’s always three or four pretty good defensive teams. This year, there just seems to be a few more that are playing well and it’s getting tougher to score.”

On why the offense may not have been as productive the last few weeks:
“Well, I think we have played against some good defensive teams. We’ve moved the ball but haven’t scored in the red zone. I just think you have to focus on improving. I think most of the time fans and people think that what you’re doing needs to be changed so you can do better, but most of the time when you really analyze it and look at it; it’s the execution of what you’re doing and the focus should be on improving that and doing things that complement the things that you do to maybe keep the defense a little bit more off balance. There are certainly ways that we want to try and make more explosive plays offensively and certainly improve on third down in the red area. Turnovers weren’t an issue for us early in the year and the last few weeks we’ve had a few more turnovers and I think that’s always something that you always want to be on the positive side of it, so that you get field position and it affects the outcome of the game.”

On Dont’a Hightower’s involvement with the team after his injury:
“I think the focus, number one, is for Dont’a to do the things he needs to do to get healthy again and not have an issue, relative to his future as a football player. He was such a big part of our team, in terms of how he contributed and what he did and how he was respected, I think it’s great he’s kind of taken it upon himself. He comes to practice. He comes to meetings. He encourages the other players. I don’t think this is something that you can make a guy do. I think the other players certainly appreciate it. We appreciate it and it’s just a great example of the great person and how much Dont’a Hightower cares about his team and his teammates.”

Alabama sophomore linebacker Dont’a Hightower spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon. Hightower has been attending practice regularly and talked about his role on the team following successful surgery to repair a season-ending knee injury he suffered earlier in the season against Arkansas.

“I don’t want to isolate myself just because I’m not able to play, that’s not the type of person I am and that’s not the type of player that is on this team,” Hightower said. “Nico Johnson is doing a great job right now. I know he is pretty young and there’s just a couple of things he does not know right now that I have been though. I’ve seen what he is seeing now. I’m able to coach him up and (Cory) Reamer on a couple of things just trying to help those guys go out and play to the best of their abilities.”

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