Alabama vs Auburn: Saban happy with Tide’s prep work for Iron Bowl
By Hunter Ford
In a short pre-Iron Bowl press conference, Nick Saban said his team is “excited about having the opportunity they have created for themselves.
Saturday’s showdown with Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium will be a winner-takes-all affair for the SEC Western Division. The winning team will play in the SEC Championship in Atlanta. Alabama is a virtual lock to play in the BCS Championship if it wins in Auburn and Atlanta. Auburn has a lesser, but still strong, chance to play in the BCS Championship if it wins out.
On the injury front, center Ryan Kelly has an knee sprain that makes his status “day-to-day.” Saban said the injury was “not as bad” as a previous injury that kept Kelly out of service earlier in the season. Chad Lindsay, Saban said, will be ready to play in Kelly’s absence. Saban said Lindsay “did great” earlier in the season at the center position.
Saban said he was happy with the preparation for the Iron Bowl.
“We’ve had a really good week so far,” he said. “Good preparation is really important in a rivalry game like this, emotions will be high. You can throw everything out the window as far as who’s favored. It’s about who can execute the best for 60 minutes when the game comes. Everybody has to prepare to do a good job playing in a very difficult environment.”
Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is in contention for the Frank Broyles Award honoring the nation’s top assistant coach.
Saban said Nussmeier does a good job communicating with the players and getting them to respond, and said Nussmeier has become “a very good play caller.”
Aside from Kelly’s injury, Saban said “everybody else should be okay.”
Asked about the cornerback position, Saban said Deion Belue, who has had nagging injuries, will start “if he’s okay.” Cyrus Jones will back up Belue.
Saban took a few minutes to offer Happy Thanksgiving wishes to everybody. He said Thanksgiving is a time to “be thankful for what we have” and not dwell on we don’t have. Saban said “health and happiness is quite enough.” He said not everybody is that lucky. Saban said he often talks to people who have terminal illnesses, in an effort to lift their spirits.