Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban met with the press to preview fall camp. You can watch the press conference with this video from the Tuscaloosa News (above), or read the transcript below.
Alabama’s Nick Saban Press Conference Transcript – August 4 courtesy of Alabama Athletic Media Relations
Opening comments by Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban:
“I’m very excited to welcome our players back today and get started here for the 2010 football season. The players have worked hard in the offseason and we’ve had a good summer overall. We feel like we’re pretty healthy going into camp so we’re really excited about what this team might be able to accomplish. I think accomplishment is all about action though. I think what our action is will be everything about what this team is able to achieve. Every guy on the team has to make a decision of what he’s willing to do to make this team all it can be. There are obviously some expectations and I think the players need to embrace the challenges but also be able to stay focused on the things they need to do to play winning football at their position. Not really focus on the competition of other players on our team, but actually what they have to do to be the best player they can be and compete against themselves so we can have individuals help individuals get better so we can be the best team possible.
We have 105 guys that can report today. We have 104 spots that are fixed. We still have one eligibility issue that is still being managed today. We won’t have an answer on that until probably the end of the day and that will determine who the 105th spot really is.
A couple of announcements on the roster. Rod Woodson will no longer be with the team. We mutually agreed that it would be better for him to continue his career someplace else. He will transfer and have the opportunity to do that. We were very helpful in trying to get him an opportunity someplace else and we wish him very well. He did a good job for us.
Ronnie Carswell is qualified and eligible to play but will start in January. Wilson Love did not pass the physical based on an ankle injury he had in high school. Therefore, he’s not going to be able to participate now so we’re going to have him start in January. Deion Belue is still working through NCAA eligibility issues which may get resolved or may not get resolved. They’re not resolved right now so he will not be with us now. We will determine a plan of action for him when we get all the information relative to that issue of eligibility. That’s basically all there is to say about the roster. We do not have any players that are injured now and will not be able to participate in practice including DeQuan Menzie who has worked the last two weeks in the regular summer conditioning program and we are hopeful that we’ll be able to continue to progress him so that he can get to 100 percent by the opening game. Provided that he does not have a setback from a medical standpoint, that’s very possible for us.
One of the things that I had mentioned earlier about the importance of this fall camp is the maturity and selflessness of our team relative to what they can accomplish. When I say maturity, I’m talking about young players. If you’re old enough, you’re good enough if you’re mature enough. That’s the key issue. We have some good, talented players that do not have the knowledge and experience that some of our players had a year ago. This is an opportunity for them, especially this camp, to continue to develop the foundation of knowledge and experience that they need to be able to play winning football. There’s also a confidence that goes with that. A lot of these things go right back to the thing I talked about in the beginning, it’s all about your actions. Not just what you do on the football field, it’s how you prepare, how you practice, how you give yourself the opportunity to recover, rest and take care of yourself so that you’re out there every time that’s possible for you to have a chance to get better and improve as a football player. It’s how you manage injuries, it’s how you manage difficulty, heat, all these things. Is it an opportunity or is it an obstacle? Is it a stepping stone or is it a stumbling block? All those things to me are how you think. How you think determines what your actions are going to be. This team this year has to prove they’re going to think right, make the right kind of commitments to do the right kind of things all the time so that they have a chance to be successful. What I say to the players all the time is ‘What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you say.’ The actions of this team are going to be critical in terms of developing an identity for this team and what they do in fall camp.
We have nothing else to report on Marcell Dareus. Anybody that asks, there’s just nothing to report. The investigation has been done, the NCAA will make a decision. We respect the way they handled this whole investigation. Our compliance department has done a fabulous job.
Mal Moore is hopefully going to get an extension today. He’s been a fabulous partner to work with as an athletic director. We’re very pleased and happy that he will continue to do that and that we will be able to continue to work well in the future so we can continue to have the kind of success here. I think Mal’s foresight in terms of building facilities and doing the things here to set the table. When people didn’t have a real positive attitude about this program, he had the foresight to do it is one of reasons we’ve been able to be successful. He has certainly done everything he can do to help us be successful as an athletic department and a football program. We’re certainly pleased about that as well.
On whether or not Marcell Dareus is eligible to practice:
“We have 104 players right now that can practice. None of them are injured. Marcel is eligible to practice with no issues.”
On his concern with the perceived lack of depth in the secondary:
“We’re not concerned. We have young players who are going to have to develop and play. Everybody has a responsibility for their own self determination. That’s called accountability and dependability. I don’t really feel it’s a problem when you have people in the organization who aren’t accountable, how not having one would affect anything. I know I’m not explaining that very well. We cannot make decisions about the future of players who aren’t accountable for what they’re supposed to do and not responsible to what they’re supposed to do as a member of this team, regardless of what the issue is – behavioral, academic, football oriented – it doesn’t matter. I don’t care how many players we have, but we have a lot of good players on the team. I would rather move somebody from another position to play where we don’t have enough players than to allow somebody not to do the right things and be involved. I don’t think we do anyone any good if we do that.”
On whether red zone play is a point of emphasis early in camp or after the teaching/instructional phase:
“We have a teaching progression that we go through. The things we do in the red zone will probably require some fundamental teaching of three or four practice days before the players are ready to take that on in the progression of how they learn fronts and coverages on defense, as well as formations and plays on offense, because you do adjust what you do in the red zone because of depth of the field. One thing I will say is, defensively, this is the first time in the three years that we’ve been here that we’ve been able to accomplish our goal defensively in how we played in the red zone, and it was probably a real key in us being successful last year and being difficult t score on. If you don’t give up big plays and you play well in the red zone, then all of a sudden you can get pretty difficult to score on. I think that was one of the key components to last year’s team being successful and difficult to score on.”
On ESPN’s cameras following him around this week and the level of access they’re allowed:
“They’ve got rules and regulations like everybody else in this organization including me. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the University of Alabama and our football program that ESPN would be interested enough to do sort of an up-close, behind the scenes kind of documentary about the football program here. I think it’s something our fans would be interested in and something that football fans in general would be interested in and it probably can promote the game. Everything that we’ve ever done in a situation like this has been very professionally done. They’ve never violated any professional courtesy or rule that we’ve sort of suggested for them to follow. They’ve been very easy to work with and we don’t have any concerns about the access that we’re allowing them this time. I think it’s great for our program. They’ll be a lot of people out there that see this, and certainly by the way we do things it will project a very positive image of the organization.”
On if Brandon Gibson and Kendall Kelly alternating positions will continue as it did during spring practice:
“I think Brandon Gibson will start and settle on offense unless we have a need to move him back to defense. I think Kendall Kelly will start and settle on defense, and we’ll evaluate whether we have a need to move him back to offense. Rather than sort of trying to do both, we’re going to settle in with both of those guys and see how they develop.”
On whether having the team full of mostly players he recruited will affect the team’s personality:
“I think the personality of our team has basically come from players buying in, regardless of who brought them in. That has never been an issue. We had a lot of good players last year that we recruited and we brought here, and we had a lot of good players last year that were here when we came here who bought in to the principals and values of the organization and they were more successful because of it. I think who brought them in is insignificant. I think it’s what their commitment is and how they buy into the organization, together as a group and individually, that makes the group what it is and what’s going to determine the personality of the team and the identity of the team.”
On the approach Marcell Dareus should take to practice:
“I don’t think there is any question that Marcell needs to focus on the future of what he can do to be the best player he can be. Whenever his circumstances are determined as to when he can play, he has to be prepared to play and have a great year. I think it’s important for his future, important for our team and Marcell is a team guy. He’s on the leadership group. He set’s a great example in terms of his effort, his toughness, his attention to detail to execute and do his job well and to finish plays and is also one to be willing to engage and try to influence other players. I don’t see any of that changing for Marcell. He’s mature enough to know that he created a situation for himself, and he’s going to have to live with the consequences if there are consequences. There will be a day when he’s allowed to play football again and it may be very soon. He needs to prepare himself to take advantage of that.”
On the expansion of the south end zone at Bryant-Denny Stadium:
“I think the stadium looks fabulous. I think we had one of the best venues in college football before we made the addition of the end zone, and now we’re over 101,000 people. I think now we may be one of the top two or three venues, in terms of a place to play college football, of anywhere in the country. I think it’s a beautiful stadium and a great place to watch a game. We have tremendous enthusiasm from our fans there and I know our players are always excited about playing at home. I think all those things are positives for the program in the future. I think we have a tremendous facility and anytime you have tremendous facilities it certainly contributes in a positive way to the future of the program.”
On the status of 2010 signee Blake Sims:
“We said we have 105 spots and there are two guys who, one guy is going to take that spot and the other guy is going to have to not take the spot. Both of those guys have been informed of their circumstances and understand it. Blake Sims is a guy that’s still be evaluated by the eligibility committee from an academic standpoint. Regardless of the information that we get, we’re going to have to make that decision very quickly to add the 105th guy to the roster and sort of move on.”
On Dre Kirkpatrick undergoing offseason surgery and his recovery thus far:
“He had a great summer. He did a good job and was able to participate in everything that all the other players participated in including the simulated training, which includes 7-on-7 that the players do on their own. We’re pleased with him. He’s 100 percent. He’s not going to be held back at all in anything in Fall camp.”