Saban: Alabama must control tempo on offense

Alabama Football: Saban gives cold shoulder to questions about comparisons and awards

By Hunter Ford

After Nick Saban had his Tide practice outside in the cold today, he had some chilly responses to reporter’s questions.

Saban came to the podium at 6:00 p.m., for his midweek press conference, armed with a coffee cup instead of his usual water bottle.

“I’m trading in my water,” he said. “Hot chocolate, baby.” Saban said he thought his team needed to work in the cold November air.

“We’re going to have to play a game along the line in this kind of weather,” he said.

Saban said it is important to learn how to play on the road in the SEC, and he said this week’s opponent, Mississippi State, has given the Tide some tough games in the past few years. He described the Bulldogs as being “difficult” to prepare for because of their multiple sets and quarterback runs. He said the quarterback runs pose a problem for defenses because it gives the offense an extra blocker to work with.

“It’s really important for us to control the tempo on offense,” Saban said.

Defensive back Bradley Sylve is still not going full speed. Saban said Sylve was expected to recover sooner, but has had a few minor setbacks. His status for the Mississippi State game is unclear.

“We did not think this was that serious a thing,” Saban said. “But playing his position, you can’t not be 100 percent…you gotta be able to run.”

Asked his thoughts about the current Tide offensive line, compared to other years, Saban said he doesn’t get into those comparisons.

“You guys (the media) think I spend my time looking at the same things you do…and I don’t,” he responded. He said this year’s Tide offensive line has done a good job achieving balance.

Saban’s reaction to the next question was similarly icy. He was asked about individual awards, and campaigns for those awards.

“What are you talking about…campaigns?” he said. A reporter clarified his question, saying he was referring to mail-outs or other advertising that some athletic departments use to promote players for post season awards. “I didn’t know it was a presidential election year. You threw me off,” Saban said.

Saban said he doesn’t participate in any such promotions and is not aware of any going on at Alabama. He also said he didn’t think it was fair for players to be exposed to the week-to-week media scrutiny that goes on during the season in relation to individual awards.

He said player awards should be given at the end of the season for a complete body of work.

The press conference ended a little before 6:08 p.m.