Nick Saban: How many teams continue to improve every week?

By Hunter Ford
Fresh from Wednesday afternoon practice, Nick Saban sounded as if he were still coaching his troops during his mid-week press conference.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban stressed improvement during his Wednesday press conference.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban stressed improvement during his Wednesday press conference.
“We need everybody to improve,” he said. “We need people to do their job in a way you can count on them in the game.”

The Tide coach said most people expect a team to show significant improvement from its first game to the second game. To be a really good team, Saban said a team should be, “putting work in every day.”

Saban said he was not referring only to younger players—older players on the team also need to step up their game. Saban peppered his comments with some academic references.

Saying that all actions have consequences, Saban said those actions “live with you.”

“When you make an F in the class, they don’t erase it,” Saban said. “It’s on your permanent record.”

Asked about tight end O.J. Howard, Saban said the tight end position is one the Tide has been striving “to develop players.” He said Howard’s play has been good, but again emphasized the need for improvement. “Are they (tight ends) going to continue to improve?”

Saban was asked about quarterback A.J. McCarron’s freedom to call plays. He said plays are usually packaged with options available for the quarterback according to situations. He praised McCarron’s ability and judgment, saying that players in game situations usually have a good feel for what will or won’t work.

The Tide coach recalled being a high school quarterback himself, calling his own plays. With a big game on the line, Saban called a time out to seek advice from his coach.

“Everybody in town is at the game and I wanted him (the coach) to make the call, and he wants to know what I think,” Saban recalled. Saban said he wished players would make more suggestions during games.

On former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain coming to town as an opposing head coach, Saban said. “We expect a lot and we know a lot and we have a lot to prepare for.”

Defensive lineman Dakota Ball is out for several weeks with a foot fracture that may require surgery. Saban said O-lineman Anthony Steen has been practicing and is expected to play Saturday.