By Hunter Ford
In his Monday press conference, Nick Saban said Alabama players need to focus on what will be a “tough,” “physical” game against LSU Saturday night.
The Tide, after an off week, will be mostly healthy. Offensive lineman Cam Robinson is the only player expected to miss practice time this week, according to Saban. Robinson could possibly be able to play Saturday, Saban said.
“If he continues to make progress, he could be available for the game,” he said.
Running back and special teams contributor Tyren Jones has been released from a suspension and will be able to play against LSU.
Saban said he expects an “involved” LSU home crowd, and a “challenging” game against an LSU team he described as having an “excellent” running game and one of the most difficult passing defenses to play against.
He said the Tide has experience now, playing road games against Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Tennessee, in loud and distracting environments. Saban said “focus” and “communication” will be crucial.
The Tigers are a difficult team to score on and their secondary can create a lot of turnovers, Saban said. He said an aggressive pass rush, and “good sized” corners playing man-to-man coverage cause problems for opposing offenses. Saban said Alabama would have to overcome that challenge and have balance on offense to beat LSU.
The goal in the off week was to “get players more ready to play for 60 minutes,” Saban said. He said his team must “take care of business today,” practice with focus and “take it to the game when the game comes.”
Saban advised his players to “be where your feet are.” He said rankings mean nothing to the Tide right now. “Take care of business today. The LSU game is the game we play this week.”
“We need everybody’s best, every day, for what we have a chance to accomplish,” he said.
After the LSU game in Baton Rouge, Alabama will face two of the top three highest ranked teams in the College Football Playoff poll. Top ranked Mississippi State and third ranked Auburn come to Tuscaloosa in the next few weeks.
Asked about the benefits of a bye week, Saban said it can be helpful to rest and get healthy. He said bye weeks also allow coaches to spend some time on in-season recruiting.
“Sometimes bye weeks are good and sometimes they don’t work out that well,” Saban said, noting Alabama was unsuccessful in a loss to Ole Miss following a bye week earlier in the season.
He said it can often be hard for players to “re-establish intensity, game week mode, beast mode, whatever you want to call it.”
Saban said Alabama practiced better last week than it did in the bye week before the Ole Miss game.
Asked if he watched any college football games over the weekend Saban replied, “I watched LSU games on my little computer.”
He admitted to watching some of the Florida-Georgia game and the Ole Miss-Auburn game, which he referred to as a “great game.”
“Miss Terry controls the TV at my house,” he said. “If she wants to watch them (football games) then I get to watch. If not, we get to watch ‘Gone With the Wind’ or something.”