Alabama started off Monday with coach Nick Saban’s weekly Monday morning press conference. He began by praising the way the team played against Ole Miss this past Saturday. He said that the question for the team now is whether they can continue to build off that performance and sustain the consistency. Other than center Ryan Kelly who sprained his knee against Ole Miss, and he will definitely not play Saturday according to Saban.
Today will be what Saban referred to as a “walkthrough and stretch and strike” instead of a full practice in an attempt to give the team a little extra risk in the midst of the 7 game stretch it’s before the bye week in November. He said the focus of the team needs to be focusing on getting better as a team this week. He used examples like Akron nearly beating Michigan earlier this year on why Alabama needs to concentrate on getting better and not taking any opponent lightly.
In regards to kickoff and punt return coverage Saban spoke glowingly of the special teams and made the revelation that Alabama actually changed the way Mandell is kicking the ball this year. Saban said that they found out in the offseason that Mandell actually hits the ball better when he’s kicking to the left while they usually punt the ball to the right, so now they have changed all the cover patterns so that he could kick the ball to the left which has worked out really well.
Regarding Chad Lindsay’s excellent play coming off the bench after Kelly was injured, he said one of the most difficult things for a player to do is to prepare for the game if they don’t know if they will play or not. He said that Lindsay has prepared very well and it showed in his performance. All purpose lineman Kellen Williams, who Saban said has played center before, will be Lindsay’s backup this week and will be so until Kelly is able to return.
When asked about HaHa Clinton Dix’s open field tackle on Laquon Treadwell early in the game on 4th and 2 was actually a situation where the defense didn’t line up right to defend that sort of play, but HaHa recognized the play quick enough that he was able to come over from the middle of the field to make the tackle. “He just made a good play and a good hit, and it ended up being a huge play in the game,” Saban said.
Saban called CJ Mosley “a fantastic player, but even more than that a fantastic person” when asked about what Mosley means to the team. He said that his effort and work ethic are second to none and says he doesn’t know how to take a play off whether he’s on defense or special teams. He called him “as fine a competitor” as he’s ever coached and said the example he sets for the rest of the team is huge for the players. Saban said that he’s so quick and instinctive that he really doesn’t have to overpower anyone but that he’s added size to his body so that he can if he needs to.
Regarding freshman cornerback Eddie Jackson, who had a fantastic game Saturday, he called him an instinctive player and said he did a “really good job” in the game despite a few mental errors which was primarily due to being a young player. Saban also praised sophomore safety Landon Collins and said that he believes Collins will only get “better and better” as he continues to get more experience and that he is considered a starter on the defense.
Saban revealed that backup offensive lineman Grant Hill was hit Saturday with a pretty bad virus while AJ McCarron was sick earlier in the week last week. Saban commented that he was barely able to practice last Tuesday and that he even had to receive IVs because of the virus.
Alabama, as usual, released its players of the week for the Ole Miss game and for the fourth consecutive week senior linebacker CJ Mosley shows up on the list. Mosley was joined by safety HaHa-Clinton Dix as the defensive players of the week while wide receiver Kevin Norwood, guard Anthony Steen, and tailback TJ Yeldon were the offensive players of the game. Landon Collins, Dillon Lee, punter Cody Mandell, kicker Cade Foster, and DeAndrew White were all special teams players of the week. Mosely was also named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week as well.
The kickoff for the October 12th game against Kentucky has been set for 6:00 PM (central time) on ESPN2.