Saban praises players for effort against Ole Miss
By Hunter Ford
Nick Saban called Alabama’s 25-0 win over Ole Miss “a big step forward,” and praised several players in all phases of the game for their efforts.
The Alabama Crimson Tide coach said he was pleased with the way his team “competed,” and tapped 10 players with player-of-the-week honors. Still, Saban repeated one of his favorite mantras—“Are we going to be able to build on this as a team?”
Saban said practicing well was the key to better game performance. He said players have to “pay better attention to detail…do it this way…this is the way it has got to be done.”
Center Ryan Kelley was injured during the Ole Miss game, and according to Saban, is the only player expected to miss the upcoming Georgia State game. Saban said offensive lineman Chad Lindsey played well in Kelley’s place and praised Kelley for his game preparation. Lindsey will be the starter this Saturday. Offensive lineman Kellen Williams will take on the back-up center duties.
“Back-ups have to prepare for the game not knowing if they are going to play,” Saban said. “It speaks well for Chad that he prepared well, and was ready to play when he got the opportunity. It takes a certain amount of maturity to do that.” Saban said every back-up player is “one-injury away” from having to take center stage in a game.
Saban said the kickoff coverage unit has improved greatly from last season. Part of the reason for the improvement is the speed on that unit, another is a different approach for kicker Cade Foster. Saban said Foster kicks better toward the left side of the field, and the Tide special teams have employed that strategy. “Not that we won’t kick it to the right,” Saban added.
Saban also had high praise for punter Cody Mandell, a four-year starter. Mandell, Saban said, has worked hard to improve his punting each year. Last year, the Tide punter added the “Aussie” kick to his repertoire. Saban said Mandell was previously unable to kick the Rugby style, end over end punt. Saban said Mandell’s ball placement and hang time have improved each year.
Senior linebacker C.J. Mosely also received high marks from Saban. “He’s a fantastic player,” the coach said, also calling Mosley a “fantastic person.” Saban said Mosely’s “effort,” “intensity,” and “preparation for the game,” were a good example for the rest of the team.
Saban said Mosley has “true grit,” and “doesn’t know how to take a play off.”
Alabama Football Players of the Week:
Linebacker C.J. Mosley, receiver Kevin Norwood, running back T.J. Yeldon, offensive guard Anthony Steen, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, safety Landon Collins, linebacker Dillon Lee, kicker Cade Foster, punter Cody Mandell and receiver DeAndrew White were tabbed as Alabama players-of-the-week.
Alabama Has Day Off From Practice:
Saban gave the Alabama football team Monday off from routine practice. The team went through walk-throughs and “mental” preparation, Saban said. At this stage in the season, Saban said “two days off are as good as ten,” to allow his team to recuperate.
Winless Georgia State Still Deserves Respect from Alabama:
Alabama Coach Nick Saban said every opponent deserves respect. He pointed to Akron’s recent scare of Michigan.
“Nothing is to be taken for granted,” he said.