Nick Saban opened up Wednesday as he does every week with his appearance on the SEC coaches teleconference. Saban continues to praise the Tennessee offensive line and said that it looks like the best line Alabama has played all year.
Saban feels that Landon Collins having to play both safety positions have benefited him even though he doesn’t like having to move players to different players during the season.
Saban said that Derrick Henry is getting more comfortable and continues to improve. He said that the biggest aspect for Henry is learning to pass protect and picking blitzes. One of the more interesting notes from Saban is that Henry told Saban during camp that he never had to learn any pass blocking or blitz pickups at all in high school because all they did was hand him the ball or toss him the ball. Saban also praised the progress of Henry’s fellow freshman OJ Howard as well.
Following practice Saban spoke to the media as well. He said that the players are getting tired but they’ve had a few days of really good work as well.
Saban confirmed that defensive end LaMichael Fanning has been “suspended indefinitely” for violating team rules. He didn’t specify what he did to get suspended.
Much has recently been talked about “mass exodus” of fans during blowout games where sometimes many fans (mostly in the student section) have left even after halftime. Saban briefly touched on that and said that he always talks about getting the players to play a full 60 minutes, and that in his mind the fans should stay the full 60 minutes and support them. He said that with all the many people that would like to go to the games if someone isn’t interested in staying the whole game then they should let someone go that would. He said that everyone should show the appreciation for the players and the beautiful stadium that has been built by staying for the full game.
Saban praised the work of young defensive lineman like A’Shawn Robinson who he said “has improved as much as anyone” and Darren Lake and Jonathan Allen.
He said that Deion Belue is “struggling to stay healthy” this year but they hope that he will be ready to go this Saturday. Belue was injured originally against Texas A&M and missed the Colorado State game but has started every other game.
Saban was asked about the cigar tradition for the Tennessee game (smoking a cigar after an Alabama win) and he smiled when talking about it but said he doesn’t take part in it (he doesn’t smoke or drink). He said that it’s a tradition that the Alabama players continue and have fun with so he’s happy that they do it but it’s not something he’s interested in.
The Crimson Tide hit the practice field again under cool temperatures as preparation for Tennessee continues.
Defensive end LaMichael Fanning was again nowhere to be seen at practice. Saban confirmed today that Fanning has been suspended indefinitely from the team.
Nose tackle Brandon Ivory worked at the back of line during position drills and Darren Lake was working with the first team. Rumors have been swirling that Ivory could be facing some type of punishment as well. For comparisons sake Geno Smith and HaHa Clinton-Dix (at times) were at the back of the line in position drills during their suspensions.
Cornerback Deion Belue was a bit limited during practice today. Fellow cornerback Bradley Sylve continues to wear a black, non-contact jersey but he did work some with the cornerbacks in position drills before continuing practice with a trainer.
Running back Altee Tenpenny was still in a black, non-contact jersey but was working out with the other running backs in position drills. He worked the first two days of practice with trainers as he recovers from turf toe.
Former Alabama players Jerrell Harris and Brandon Gibson were watching practice today.
Scouts from the Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, and Kansas City Chiefs were watching practice as well.
For more on Bama, check out this post from the TiqIQ blog.