Saban: Sims throwing with ‘no issues,’ Ole Miss can move ball on ground via short pass

By Hunter Ford

In a brief Wednesday afternoon press conference, Nick Saban said Blake Sims is practicing as if he was never injured, and the Tide has had a good week of practice.

Earlier in the day, in his weekly teleconference, Saban said Sims began throwing the ball toward the end of last week.

“Blake has done really well in practice,” Saban said. “He hasn’t had any issues this week so far in terms of being able to throw the ball.  We’re really pleased with the way he’s progressed.  He’s been able to take all the reps he’s prescribed to take.”

Sims fell hard on his throwing shoulder during the Florida game and sat out briefly. He was able to continue playing against Florida before being relieved in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

Saban said the Tide had a good week of practice and “a good day today.” Alabama practiced indoors today in an effort to create noise in anticipation of a rowdy crowd in Oxford.

The “key to the drill,” Saban said, is “the discipline to execute and do your job, even in adverse situations. Anytime you play on the road you have to play through adversity.”

JACKSON AND BROWN STILL VYING FOR PLAYING TIME

Asked about the competition between Eddie Jackson and Tony Brown in the defensive backfield, Saban said “It’s still playing out.”

“It’s not done… it’s incomplete,” he said.

OLE MISS RUNNING STATS DECEIVING

Saban was asked about the Ole Miss running game, which has less than spectacular stats through four games. He said Ole Miss has a good offensive line and fast running backs that run well on the perimeter.  He said the Rebels’ running stats are deceiving because they use short passes like “toss sweeps” and run “smoke” and “bubble” screens depending on the defensive coverage.

COMPETITION RAMPS UP

Saban said the competition will get progressively tougher as the Tide continues through the SEC schedule. He said his team has yet to be challenged by an aggressive pass rush and it can expect much closer coverage on receivers.

Saban said linebacker Trey DePreist did a good job last season reading blocking assignments. He will need to do that against Ole Miss, as Saban said the Rebels run multiple offensive sets with both “zone” and “gap” blocking assignments.  In a nutshell, Saban said it is “complicated.”

“In every formation the keys are different,” Saban said.

Saban said he has been pleased, overall, with how his defense has played. He noted that Florida scored its points last week off of Tide turnovers.

“When you give the other team the ball like we did (in the Florida game)…they scored 21 points off of turnovers…I thought we played pretty well on defense,” Saban said.

INJURY/ILLNESS SIDELINE TWO PLAYERS

Running back Tyren Jones tore a tendon in one of his fingers which will require surgery. Offensive lineman Grant Hill has been recovering from an illness and is “questionable” to play this week according to Saban.