Saban says Alabama had good week of practice heading into LSU game
By Hunter Ford
In his Wednesday press conference Nick Saban smiled when asked about rumors he might leave for the University of Texas.
The smile quickly faded as he responded. “I don’t know where ya’ll get these reports,” he said. “I don’t know where you get this stuff.”
Saban said he was “committed” to the University of Alabama and he had already definitively put the Texas rumors to rest. “There’s nothing new to report.”
Saban was asked the Texas question about halfway through a brief conference. He had opened the meeting by saying the Tide has had a good week of practice. “Things have gone pretty well this week,” he said. “The guys got right into it after the weekend off.”
Following his usual pattern, Saban said the main goal of the week was to “focus on doing things correctly…time and time and time again.”
“You can’t have that breaking point where you say ‘I’m tired of this’, “he said. Saban said three or four plays will decide the contest against a talented LSU team and his players must be ready to make the crucial plays go their way.
Defensive lineman Dakota Ball will be ready to play. The only doubtful contributor will be defensive back Bradley Sylve who Saban said is “day to day.” Defensive lineman Brandon Ivory has practiced all week, and according to Saban, “will be fine.”
Saban said defensive back Cyrus Jones has played well with Sylve out. Defensive back Jarrick Williams has “played all over the place” in the secondary to compensate for personnel changes made necessary by injuries.
Saban said he is “not disappointed in the way anyone’s progressing,” but added that “I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet.”
A reporter asked about senior defensive lineman Ed Stinson, noting that Stinson has yet to miss a practice in his career. Saban praised Stinson for his leadership role and dedication.
“I haven’t really thought of it that way,” Saban remarked, “But now that you mention it, I don’t think he has ever missed anything.”
Responding to a question about feeling pressure as the coach of a team seeking its third national championship in a row and fourth in three years, Saban said any pressure he feels comes “internally.”
“The pressure I feel comes from me,” he said. “I want to be the best teacher, the best coach, to put the players in position to be successful.”
Responding to a question about recruiting players head-to-head with LSU (DB Landon Collins hails from Geismar, LA) Saban said it is tough to recruit players who have a strong home-state option.
“It’s a huge challenge. It’s tough to recruit in Florida against Florida, or Florida State. It’s tough to recruit in Georgia against Georgia,” he said.
Saban said there were always players looking for a chance to be part of a successful program like The Alabama Crimson Tide; to be part of a program that gives them “a better chance to be successful in life because they were in the program.”
“Not that other programs don’t do that,” he said.
Saban said he wants players to have fun playing football at Alabama, but stressed it is not all “fun and games.” He said there was a lot of hard work involved and there were “players all over who are interested in doing that kind of stuff.”
The ESPN Gameday crew will be live in Tuscaloosa this week. Saban said he expects Alabama fans to “do a great job” projecting the spirit and image of The University of Alabama.