Nick Saban Press Conference
The Alabama Crimson Tide kicked off the week with Nick Saban’s weekly Monday press conference as Alabama turns its attention to 21st-ranked Ole Miss.
Nick Saban said that all the players have shown that they are capable of playing great football, but they have to have more consistency in preparation and technique during the game. He said the team needs to improve better when they prepare, and he and the rest of the coaches took responsibility in the team not being better prepared during practices thus far this year. Saban said the team shot itself in the foot with mentor errors and technical errors against Colorado State.
Alabama was without six starters against Colorado State. Wide receiver Kevin Norwood, cornerback Deion Belue, wide receiver Amari Cooper, offensive guard Anthony Steen, and star Jarrick Williams all sat out the game, but all will be full participants in practice this week according to Saban. Safety Nick Perry is the only Alabama player right now that is missing practice. He sat out the game as well due to a shoulder injury he suffered last week in practice. A decision on what will be done with Perry, and whether surgery will be required, is expected this week.
Saban then addressed Ole Miss and praised their team especially quarterback Bo Wallace and running back Jeff Scott.
“This is a very good SEC team and we’re certainly going to have to play our very best to have any kind of success against them,” Saban said.
The very first question Saban got today was about chemistry, and he said that he felt that chemistry comes from everyone in the organization trusting in the organization fully in its vision. He said everyone has to be responsible for doing their jobs and they have to “work their tails off” to do it consistently. Saban feels that the team has learned valuable lessons on consistency in the way it’s played very well at certain times and poorly at others. Saban said that the lack of communication comes from getting better with preparation and they have to get all of the “clutter” from outside the team out of their heads.
Regarding the young cornerbacks that Alabama used against Colorado State, he flatly said they have to get better, and continues to point out “doing your job” and having sound technique as the thing the young corners are struggling with at this point. Saban acknowledged that not having Deion Belue in the game hurts with helping out the young guys as well.
When asked about the running game struggling last week, he said the problems were the same problems they’ve had missed assignments and lack of technique in the blocking assignments. He said that having consistency in paying attention to detail is the most important thing in getting the offense going.
When it comes to the up-tempo offense, like Ole Miss runs, he feels they’re more prepared this year than last but they still have struggled against it because of lack of consistency. Saban said that Ole Miss’s offense and defending it is completely different than Texas A&M, “there’s not even an ounce of similarity” he said of the two offenses. Saban pointed out Ole Miss’s strong, more conventional, running game and use of a big tight end that can catch the ball as big differences.
AJ McCarron made some waves Saturday night as he was visibly frustrated during post-game interviews and kept repeating that the offense just lacked chemistry and communication against CSU when repeatedly asked the same question.
During McCarron’s Monday interview session he called Ole Miss’ defense “unbelievable” and said the Alabama offense would have to step up and meet the challenge. McCarron pointed out how Ole Miss moves around their defensive front a lot to try and confuse quarterbacks. When pressed on Alabama’s struggling running game, McCarron said that people have to realize that this Alabama team isn’t the same as last year, and teams won’t be the best running team every year. He said that Alabama has to play to its strengths and if that means throwing the ball they’ll do that and at the same time if it means running the ball they’ll do that too.
Alabama released its weekly players of the week. On offense, wide receivers DeAndrew White and Christion Jones were given the honor after White scored a touchdown, and Jones led all receivers against Colorado State for 90 yards on nine catches.
Defensively, linebackers CJ Mosley and Trey DePriest were the players of the week. Mosley led the team with nine tackles and one for a loss while DePriest had nine tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Safety Landon Collins and running backs Altee Tenpenny and Kenyan Drake were the special teams players of the week.
- Returning to the practice field for the first time this week, Nick Perry was the only player wearing a black, non-contact jersey. He did participate in some drills but sat out of others. We will likely know by Wednesday about the seriousness of Perry’s injury.
- Both Kevin Norwood and Amari Cooper were leading the receiver drills and seemed to be full participants in practice.
- Cornerback Deion Belue and safety Jarrick Williams were full participants in practice as well. Williams suffered an injury against Texas A&M in which he had his eyeball scratched and it actually ended up bleeding and effecting his vision. Saban said he expects Williams to play against Ole Miss.
- All four of Alabama’s freshmen running backs continue to work with the scout team. Derrick Henry and Altee Tenpenny were wearing #5 jerseys signifying that they will be playing the role of I’Tavius Mathers, Ole Miss’ bigger running back. Tyren Jones and Alvin Kamara were wearing #3 meaning they will be playing the role of electric Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott. Both Tenpenny and Henry received carries against Colorado State despite working with the scout team.
- Freshmen quarterbacks Luke Del Rio, Parker McLeod, and Cooper Bateman will be playing the role of Bo Wallace in practice and backup quarterback Blake Sims will likely also play that role at times especially when the defense is working on defending the read option or scrambles.
- Freshman receive ArDarius Stewart will be playing the role of Ole Miss receiver Donte Moncrief for the scout team.
- Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace made headlines today when he stated that Ole Miss has better receivers than Texas A&M.
“They want to talk about Mike Evans (A&M receiver) being so good, but we have Donte (Moncrief) and I think Laquon (Treadwell) is going to be that way. We have better players on the outside than A&M does.” Wallace continued by saying that Ole Miss will score on Alabama and “we just have to show up and play.”
- The kickoff time for Alabama’s October 5th game with Georgia State has been set for 11:21 AM (central) on the SEC Network (local affiliates). That will be Alabama’s first early kickoff of the season.