By Hunter Ford
Nick Saban covered a lot of ground in a Tuesday press conference, updating injuries, announcing a suspension and proclaiming he doesn’t know and doesn’t care about the upcoming College Football Playoff poll.
Running back T.J. Yeldon and tight end Brian Vogler are “beat up” and will be limited in practice this week. Offensive tackle Cam Robinson will be out for two weeks, according to Saban, dependent on how well he progresses. Running back Tyren Jones has been suspended.
Saban said Jones could be back “sometime soon” if “he does what he’s supposed to do.”
The overall theme of Saban’s message was Alabama has three tough SEC games to play, and must be consistent in practice if it expects to play well and be successful in the games.
“You can’t just get ready to play when you think you’re going to play,” he said. Saban noted that injuries have forced several back-ups into key roles this season. He said that situation has added experience and depth to the team, but said players must continue to practice consistently regardless of their position on the depth chart.
Grant Hill and Austin Shepherd can both play at tackle in relief of Robinson, Saban said.
Fullback Jalston Fowler will take some reps at tailback in practice.
Placekicker Adam Griffin has a “physical problem” that Saban was unwilling to specify. It has limited his reps in practice, Saban said. Saban thought Griffin kicked well overall in the Tennessee game and may have “slipped” on a missed extra point.
“To me, none of it matters,” Saban said. “It only matters where you end up in the end. None of it matters if we’re not successful in our games.”
Saban said it was nice for the fans and gives ESPN an opportunity to “have a one-hour TV show” and everybody can hear “what Lou Holtz thinks.”
Saban said he was “happy we’re in the conversation, based on what we’ve done so far.”
Asked about quarterback Blake Sims and whether there have been more designed running plays for Sims, Saban said there have not been more designed running plays. Saban explained that Sims has pulled the ball down and run with it when defenses have shown vulnerability.
“They’re not planned runs, they’re reads,” Saban said.
Saban praised Sims for his overall play. He said, however, that most of the “negative plays” for the Tide offense have been “self-inflicted” and come when “we’re in the wrong formation, or make a wrong read.”
SABAN PROUD OF GRADUATION RATE
Saban said an 80 percent graduation rate for his football players was a source of pride. He said the numbers could be higher if not for many ex-Tide players who left school early for the NFL draft.
He said a top priority of his program is preparing players for success after football.
“There are a lot more days ahead of them when they are not playing football,” he said.