Alabama Football: Nick Saban wants Tide focused

Alabama Football:

Nick Saban Monday Press Conference Report

In his Noon press conference today, Nick Saban said the Alabama Crimson Tide needs to take care of business against Texas A&M by staying focused and playing sound fundamental football.

Alabama Football: Nick Saban updates Alabama fans as the Tide preps for Texas A&M.

Alabama Football: Nick Saban updates Alabama fans as the Tide preps for Texas A&M.

Johnny Manziel and the Aggies notched the only mark on the Tide’s loss column last year, jumping out to a three score lead in Tuscaloosa and winning a nail-biter in the fourth quarter.

The Alabama Football coach was questioned repeatedly in the press conference about the emotional aspect of the rematch set for Saturday at A&M’s Kyle Field. He repeatedly referred to his philosophy of focusing on fundamentals and individual assignments: holding blocks, making tackles, and being in the right position to make plays.

“We have to play our game and take advantage of opportunities,” Alabama football coach Nick Saban said. “We have got to be able to adjust. Have more guys play disciplined football. Last year we didn’t do that and we paid for it.

“We can’t have any lack of focus and discipline. We have to take care of the little things. You take care of the cents; the dollars add up.”

Saban acknowledged that emotions will be a factor in the upcoming game. But he said emotions can cause negative results. And he said he had zero tolerance for trash talk.

“It (trash talking) is not a part of our game,” Saban said. “There’s never a circumstance you need to talk to another player.” He said the Tide should be “businesslike” and do its job.

“People who get emotional sometimes don’t make the best decisions,” the Alabama football coach said.

Saban had high praise for the Aggies superstar quarterback Johnny Manziel and for Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin. Saban said he once tried to hire Sumlin as an assistant at LSU, and Sumlin’s record “speaks for itself” with a successful tenure at Houston and an 11-win season last year with A&M.

Speaking about Manziel, Saban said, “He’s gonna make some plays.” Saban said Manziel has good instincts, and shouldn’t be thought of as only a scrambling quarterback. He said his defensive backs would have to be careful to hold their coverage on receivers. Saban said Manziel will not throw to a receiver who isn’t open, but when he scrambles his receivers will go into “scramble rules” mode. They will adjust their routes to shake a defender who is too focused on watching Manziel’s movement.

“Don’t allow him to make plays because of what you did incorrectly on defense,” Saban advised. He said his defensive backs can watch NFL games on Sundays if they want to watch quarterbacks. If they get caught up trying to spy on Manziel, “You’re going to get busted,” Saban said.

Saban said the key to the game would be how well his “team” plays against Texas A&M’s “team.”

Asked about A&M’s offensive philosophy, using a fast tempo, Saban said he believed his team has adjusted well to what had become a common offensive strategy.

“We’ve adjusted to it,” Saban said. “We played against it eight or nine times last year, and we’ll see it that many times this year. It’s becoming more the norm.”

He said preparation was the key to adapting to the fast pace: “What did we see and how much did we see it? And how did our practice reflect that?”

Alabama Football Injury Update

Alabama Football Injury Update: Saban said freshman defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson will be out for the season. He had surgery following the Virginia Tech game and will require four or five months of rehab.