The Game of the Century between #1 LSU and #2 Alabama is set for November 5, but Nick Saban has a plan for the bye week.
Saban talked about this during a visit to Birmingham—video of his visit via WIAT in the above video player. A few excerpts follow below. Saban explained the bye week will be used for rest, quality control and one extra day of preparation for LSU.
“We need to get a little rest,” Alabama football coach Nick Saban said. “We need to work on improving some of the deficiencies that we have on our team. We need to get some of our younger players to be more consistent so they can make a better contribution, and sort of improve the team chemistry and confidence as much as we can during this bye week. And then get ready for the game when it becomes time to get ready for the game.”
Saban said it is important to block out external things in preparation for the game.
Saban said quality control is part of the process during the bye week—doing things to improve how Alabama functions. And there is little additional work on the next opponent—this is done with a particular purpose in mind.
“At the end of the day, we have only one more practice on LSU than we normally would have,” Saban said. “And that is so we don’t start thinking about the game too soon and get over-prepared.”
Saban praised this Alabama football team’s leadership. Saban said the players impacted the rally in the second half of the Alabama-Tennessee game.
“Marquis Maze, Dont’a Hightower, even Alex Watkins after he had broken his arm,” were involved in rallying the Alabama team to a win over Tennessee. “It shows how much the guys care about what they made a commitment to,” Saban said.
Saban talked about the injuries to Alex Watkins and Cyrus Kouandjio. (You can read more about the injuries here.) These are blows to the depth of the team, Saban said.
Saban said quarterback A.J. McCarron was shook up after the first interception, but the way he responded to it was important in the Tennessee game.