Alabama football: Saban adjusting attitudes

The Alabama Crimson Tide completed its 10th of 15 practice sessions Wednesday. Following practice Alabama football players D.J. Fluker and Trent Richardson spoke to reporters. Video of those interviews is included below.

Also, I intended to post this earlier, but all the day’s fun regarding Auburn fan website publisher Jeff Lee’s allegations that the Alabama Crimson Tide cheated took my attention away from this post. But there was some important news from Saban’s press conference. Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban announced several players had been demoted following the first scrimmage. Saban attributed this change to an attitude of “entitlement” infecting the football program.

Is that too negative a spin to put on the comments?

Perhaps.

Perhaps not. A team cannot win without the right attitude. Alabama coach Nick Saban knows how to use his press conferences to send a message to players. He can rant in general terms but each player who listens to the news hears a specific message—play hard every play and know your job.

Saban is also keeping his options open in the quarterback battle. He made it clear that A.J. McCarron’s limited game experience last season does not matter to what is happening now—both quarterbacks are getting the same number of reps and being judged on what they are doing now, and not last year.

“How good those players want to be will probably go a long way in determining what kind of team we have,” Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said.

Cecil Hurt examined the state of the football team in his column today. Hurt wrote, “So when Saban, giving what was an unofficial mid-spring review after UA reached the midpoint (actually it was the two-thirds point with 10 practices of the allotted 15 now in the books), mentioned the words “sense of entitlement,” it was time to take notice.”

Indeed it is time to take notice. Hurt pointed out how a sense of entitlement could have undermined the 2010 football team. Check out his important column.

But remember, Saban uses these press conferences to shape not only public perception, but player attitudes.

VIDEO: Alabama OL D.J. Fluker

This video runs over five minutes and includes offensive lineman D.J. Fluker talking about Alabama’s spring practice.

VIDEO: Alabama RB Trent Richardson

This video lasts over 7 minutes and includes Alabama star running back Trent Richardson talking about the Crimson Tide’s spring.

Here is the official release from UA about Spring Practice:
Football Completes 10th Practice of the Spring Season (courtesy of UA)
Crimson Tide looks at 2011 opponents for the first time

The Alabama football team continued with its spring practice slate on Wednesday, where it has now completed 10 of 15 sessions. The team practiced outdoors in full pads for approximately two hours. The Crimson Tide was able to get a look at its 2011 opponents for the first time this season.

“We got a chance to look at things that we typically do not see in our own offense or our own defense that we will have to play against next year,” head coach Nick Saban said. “The team is able to get the basic information they need, so when the time comes next year, we will not be starting from scratch.”

Saban continued to explain how the goal of the coaching staff continues to be challenging the players and expecting to see consistency.

“We are still trying to focus on fundamental improvement and getting knowledge to the players,” Saban said. “The effort, toughness and intangibles are things we really need to continue to work on, and I think we have made some progress there. The biggest thing with players in spring practice is to challenge them to have consistency in their performance. They all know what days we are practicing, so they should look forward to those days with a positive energy and attitude about what they want to accomplish, individually and collectively. We have a little more maturity on this team, but we also have a lot of young guys that need to continue to step up.”

Saban also highlighted the progress of the offensive line considering the youth in that position last season.

“The offensive line has shown improvement,” Saban explained. “I think the depth is better because of that.”

Sophomore offensive lineman D.J. Fluker agreed that the offensive line is continuing to make progress as a group.

“We are coming together as a group right now,” Fluker said. “It has been going really well so far. We are bonding right now and figuring out how we are going to play together. As a group, we need to continue to execute more and learn more about what the other defense is doing.”

The Crimson Tide will return for its 11th practice on Friday afternoon.