Alabama Football: Nick Saban previews Kentucky game & more

Alabama plays Kentucky this week and Nick Saban previewed the SEC game.

Alabama plays Kentucky this week and Nick Saban previewed the SEC game.

Alabama Football Update: Saban expects “difficult” game with Wildcats on the road; Deflects questions about Paul Bryant Jr.’s business concerns.

By Hunter Ford

Nick Saban expects a competitive game with a Kentucky Wildcat team sporting a poor record, but showing promise.

While most of his weekly press conference dealt with on-field player critiques, Saban was asked about off-field problems, and about his thoughts on Paul Bryant, Jr., a university trustee and son of Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Saban described Bryant as a “great supporter” of the university who has done a lot to help Alabama athletics as well as academics. Saban said Alabama has a “great team” of administrators, trustees, alumni and fans. He said he has never felt any “meddling from the outside.”

Saban was asked vague questions about Bryant’s business interests and whether Saban had any concerns about them.

“I don’t understand what you’re asking me,” Saban responded. “I don’t have any knowledge of that, so I can’t really comment on it.”

Saban did not specifically address the suspension of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but he did address his expectations for his football team.

“Our concern is that we get our players to do the right things, the right way, all the time,” Saban said. Doing that, Saban said, would eliminate distractions and negative perceptions about the program. Saban said that modern culture’s emphasis on “instant gratification” doesn’t mix well with football.

“The ‘me first’ mentality is difficult to have in a great team sport like football,” he said.

Kentucky Better Than Record

Alabama football coach Nick Saban said Kentucky is a better team than its record shows. The Wildcats are 1-4 with losses to Western Kentucky, Louisville, Florida and South Carolina. The lone win came against Miami of Ohio.

Saban said Kentucky has shown promise offensively and features a duel threat quarterback, Jalen Whitlow, a product of Prattville. Saban said the Wildcats have a “solid defensive team,” and good specialists.

“We expect this to be a difficult game,” Saban said. “I think our players need to prepare for this team with a lot of respect, and I think our players understand how difficult it is to play on the road in our league.” Saban said the Tide would face “greater resistance” as each week progresses in SEC play. “The games in front of us will be more and more challenging,” he said.

Alabama Special Teams Indicate Team Toughness

Saban had praise for Kentucky’s special teams, saying good special teams play often tells a lot about a team’s toughness. The Tide coach also expressed admiration for his own squad’s special teams efforts.

“We’ve had probably more guys make plays on special teams (this season) as we have in the past,” Saban said. He said he hoped that unit would continue to “create advantages” for the Tide.

Alabama Receivers and Quarterbacks Get Praise From Saban

Saban called the Alabama receiving corps “unique” and said each receiver brings different skills to the table. He said Kevin Norwood was a clutch player, who could be counted on at critical times. He praised DeAndrew White’s practice habits, which he credited with helping White’s game performance, and he said Christion Jones, “could play running back,” and is a “good returner.” Saban said each receiver compliments the others in a different way.

Saban said said A.J. McArron has helped the Tide by not making poor decisions and turning the ball over.

“As long as we end every drive with a kick, whether it’s a punt or a field goal, or an extra point, we’re better off than with other things that could happen,” he said.