Saban says Tennessee game will be emotional; asks fans to stay or give tickets to others; announces another player suspension
By Hunter Ford
In his Wednesday press conference, Nick Saban covered a lot of ground in a short time.
The Tide coach announced a player suspension, a successful surgery for Vinnie Sunseri, urged fans to stay at games, and said the Tennessee game will be an emotional contest.
Saban began by saying the Tide has had “a couple of good days of work.” He said, eight weeks into the season is “when guys get weary” but praised his team’s recent practice efforts.
“This team will be remembered by how they finish,” Saban said. He said players have to finish well not only in games but also in practice.
The upcoming battle with Tennessee, Saban said, “Is a big rivalry game. Everybody will have a lot of emotion.”
Alabama students, who have blocks of seats designated in Bryant-Denny Stadium, have been leaving in droves before the end of games this year. Saban addressed them, saying they should give their tickets to fans who want to experience an Alabama game.
“We have great fans here,” Saban said. “As much support as any place I’ve ever been. There are a lot of people who would really like to see an Alabama game.”
Saban said the Alabama facilities are top notch, and that he likes to invite recruits to the games to experience the game-day atmosphere.
“We all should show our appreciation for that by staying for the whole game. If you’re not interested in that, you should let somebody else go,” he said.
Alabama did not commit a penalty in the Arkansas game, although Saban said he noticed some that could have been called. He attributed the absence of penalties to preparation.
“Players obviously have better focus and discipline and more confidence in what they’re doing,” he said.
LaMichael Fanning, a reserve defensive end, has been suspended for what Saban said was: “A violation of team rules, or whatever. He’s not around.”
Saban announced that Sunserri had successful knee surgery yesterday. The star safety will still be out for the remainder of the season.
A’Shawn Robinson, Darren Lake and Jonathan Allen, were praised by Saban for their performance on the defensive line.
Cornerback Deion Belue has been “battling to stay healthy” according to Saban, but it is hoped he can continue to contribute in the defensive backfield.
“He’s a great competitor…it’s important to him…he knows how to prepare for a game,” Saban said.