Aug 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver D.J. Coles (18) is brought down by Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (6) and defensive back John Fulton (10) during the first quarter of the 2013 Chick-fil-A Kickoff game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Crimson Tide Wednesday (10/02) Interviews and Notes

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HaHa Clinton-Dix Suspension
The biggest piece of news coming from today is the suspension of All American safety HaHa Clinton-Dix indefinitely. Saban would not elaborate on the reasoning for his suspension other than saying it was for “violation of team rules and policies.” Saban said, “I’m going to be consistent. When guys get suspended, I never ever say what it’s for. All right? So, I’m not going there, so don’t ask. It’s the way it always happens. Every guy. If they do right, they wouldn’t be getting suspended. I don’t know for how long this will be, so don’t ask me that either. That’s the only new news we have right now.”

Clinton-Dix currently is second on the team in tackles with 24 and has also broken up two passes. Dix has started every game at safety this year. Landon Collins will get the start at Dix’s safety spot with Geno Smith serving as Collins’ backup. Saban revealed that Geno Smith was moved to safety in fall camp, which was something I was completely unaware of.

Saban Notes
As Nick Saban typical does every Wednesday he opened up the day this morning as a part of the SEC coaches teleconference.

Saban opened up by again calling the game last Saturday “a great win for our team” and says he felt Alabama “took a step forward as a team in terms of the way we competed in the game.” He said the focus this week is everyone getting better fundamentally.

When asked if he felt his defensive backs are playing hesitant due to the new targeting rule Saban said that he certainly didn’t feel that, but he does feel they are very aware of the rule. He said that when he watches film with the players he will hear them say things like “oooh, that’s targeting” when a play that could be considered a flag under the new rule happens.

Saban said that he thinks this year there are a lot of really good quarterbacks in the SEC, which in turn makes those offensive teams really good as well and that has led to so many high scoring games. He said that so many teams implementing the hurry up, no huddle offense as well attributes to that.

When asked about how hard it is to establish or change a culture in a program, in regards to what Georgia State is trying to do as a very young program Saban said that you first have to develop the basic fundamelts of the programs like buying into the principles and values the organization wants to have.

“You have to define the goals that you have in the program, and everybody’s got to be very positive toward doing what they can do to accomplish these goals. They need to be realistic, but far-sighted enough that there’s enough foresight to see development in a positive way.”

An odd question was asked about Saban’s relationship with controversial journalist Paul Finebaum and Saban said he had a tremendous amount of respect for him. He said that he’s “actually used him at times for a public relations standpoint to try to figure out and brainstorm the best way to manage and handle certain situations.” He said that Finebaum has always treated him with respect and he respects the way he has created a lot of interest in the state of Alabama and in Alabama football and the SEC in general.

Following practice a hoarse sounding Nick Saban returned to the podium and said that the team is trying to create the practice habits that players can carry over the things they do correctly and consistently into games when it comes to fundamentals.

Saban confirmed the Reuben Foster number change but also said that Derrick Henry has changed his number to #27 and Altee Tenpenny will now be #28. These are all due to duplicate numbers hampering who can and can’t go in on special teams at times according to the head coach.

Regarding how he feels about the pressure the Alabama defense has gotten on quarterbacks, he said the thing that they need to improve on is “finishing on the quarterback” meaning getting him to the ground. Saban said that he feels they have affected the quarterback a lot this year but just haven’t been able to get the sack.

PRACTICE NOTES

The Alabama Crimson Tide again returned to the practice field this afternoon in full pads.

As Saban mentioned linebacker Reuben Foster has switched numbers from #2 to #9, and he confirmed this on his twitter today as well.

Linebacker Tana Patrick was spotted with heavy taping on his ankle.

Safety Nick Perry, who had shoulder surgery last week, came by practice for a few minutes with his arm in a sling. He will miss the remainder of the season.

CBS’ “60 Minutes” film crew was at practice again today as they continue to shoot for an upcoming special on Nick Saban and the Alabama program. They were filming a lot during preseason camp.

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