SEC Media Days: Alabama’s Saban praises team’s off-season work

Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban showered his team with high praise at SEC Media Days 2011.

“We’ve had a very good off-season. We have a little bit more maturity, a little better leadership on this team, a little more experience in a lot of ways,” Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. “I’ve seen that in the way we’ve approached the off-season, spring practices, summer conditioning program, both on and off the field in how we’ve managed our business and conducted ourselves and the improvement that we’ve made.”

Attitudes are a critical part of the Saban Process. When Alabama is successful in the fall, you hear good things about the effort in the off-season program. It isn’t a guarantee, but it is a good place to start.

Saban delivered a message on the importance of preparation at the start of the off-season program.

“I told the players in the beginning of the off-season program, What investment are you willing to make to get a better result down the road? That’s a part of commitment, and that all determines the kind of consistency and performance you’re going to have. Based on the investment you made in preparation, that’s going to determine the kind of success that you can have,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “Knowing that everybody else is making the same kind of commitment for them to be successful, and that’s what makes great competition.”

Alabama’s defense should have a different feel this year with more pass rushing talent at linebacker than along the defensive line.

“We have more linebacker types that are pass-rushers,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I think this is one of the key ingredients of playing the 3-4, is your linebacker guys are going to have to be your pass-rushers because the down guys are going to be bigger and not as effective rushers. So that’s where a lot of our pass-rush is going to come from.”

Speaking of linebackers, Saban updated the status of Dont’a Hightower.

“Dont’a has had a fantastic off season,” Saban said. “I don’t think he has completely gotten over his injury. He’s got his explosive quickness back, his burst in pass-rush, playing with a little bit more speed, which is more like he played before his injury. So he has had a really, really good off-season, really good spring practice, and a great summer.”

And while Trent Richardson is the marquee name on offense, he will not be the only one to get carries.

“Eddie Lacy, who played quite a bit last year, will be the guy that will have some opportunity to — it’s always been our philosophy not to run one guy 30 times in a game, but to play two backs all the way through the history of wherever we’ve been,” Saban said.

As for the Alabama quarterback situation, Saban did not provide any news on the battle between A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims. Saban indicated he will adopt a wait-and-see approach to the quarterback situation. He wants to see how the quarterbacks perform in Fall Camp and during the games.

“We have two guys that are competing for the quarterback position,” Saban said. “We’re going to continue to manage those guys through fall camp. Neither guy has a tremendous amount of experience. We have a lot of faith, trust and confidence in both of their abilities. It will be interesting to see who plays better in the game, because we feel like both guys have done a really good job and both guys are talented enough to be very, very successful quarterbacks for our team.”