Alabama vs LSU Update: Saban talks about managing players before the big game, Alabama holds first practice of bye week

Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban talked about the bye week, its possible benefits, managing players during the off week and getting ready to face the titanic game pitting #1 LSU against #2 Alabama at his Tuesday press conference.

Saban addressed the bye week’s potential benefit by saying that “you never know until you go out there and play.” Saban said there are many different opinions on bye weeks and how to manage players. Saban said the team was in a good routine prior to the bye week, but Alabama had gotten a little “beat up physically” in the last few weeks and needed” rest and time to recover.”

“I am hopeful the guys take a business-like approach to this early on so the emotional and psychological aspects of this game doesn’t get to them too quickly and create an anxiety, ” Saban said.

Alabama players had Sunday and Monday off during this bye week and returned to practice Tuesday.

“Today’s practice was quite a bit of kicking game and some special situations, but more like a Monday practice for us. Tomorrow we will work hard on fundamentals.”

Most of the early work is on what Saban termed quality control issues.

“The goal of what we were trying to do today and do tomorrow is improving our deficiencies as a team,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “We make a quality control list of everything that we want to try to work on at every position and collectively as a unit.”

Saban said LSU preparation work begins later in the week.

According to Saban, the biggest coaching challenge he faces is “to keep our players from thinking about everything that is surrounding the game and not worry about all the stuff that is going on outside the game.”

Saban said the “key to being able to play a really good game” is to put aside the “circumstances surrounding the game.”