Alabama head coach Nick Saban kicked off the bye week on Tuesday (Monday was an off day for the team) with his only media appearance.
Saban opened up by briefly touching on the Tennessee game, saying that he was proud of the way the team played in the first half but feels that the team lost its intensity in the second half (easy to do when you’re up 35-0) and that is a lesson they can learn from. He said that it is very important to stay focused and keep the intensity.
The message for the week, according to Coach Saban, is even though there isn’t a game the players still have to stay focused in everything they do, whether it’s personal or with school work or just simply improving and doing their job on the practice field.
Saban said that Deion Belue was in a black jersey (non-contact) and he didn’t do much in practice, but that was by design and it was their choice to have him limited this week to get him healthy for the LSU game. Saban said his toe injury has been a lingering injury for him and hopefully rest will help him be able to sustain on the field better. Saban said Bradley Sylve, who missed the Tennessee game, would practice this week but he’s not quite 100 percent yet. No other players were mentioned in the injury report.
Saban said each group (offense, defense, and special teams) makes a list on the bye week of things they want to improve on and they spend most of the week working on those things.
Saban said that cornerbacks Cyrus Jones and Bradley Sylve will be in competition over the next two weeks to see which player will likely play the most against LSU.
When talking about young players and getting them experience and making mistakes, he said that sometimes when young players make mistakes it’s the best time to teach them. I think that definitely sums up a lot of why Saban is so great. You can point to different times in the season when it looks like he is eating a young player alive (I can think of situations with Cyrus Jones, Eddie Jackson, and Grant Hill right off the top of my head) while a veteran player like AJ McCarron or CJ Mosley wouldn’t get chewed on quite as much for a mistake.
When asked for the 100th time on his social media policies for the team he was also asked if he ever thought about joining Twitter. The obvious “no I never have” answer followed, but then he hilariously said he had no clue why anyone would want to join the social media site. As he’s said 100 times, he doesn’t restrict players from social media but they do monitor and the only policies really are that they don’t reveal anything internal about the team and they don’t do anything negative.
Saban again praised senior CJ Mosley on and off the field for his leadership and community service about as much as his ability on the field. Saban used an example of his effort on the field by pointing out Deion Belue’s interception against Tennessee. He said that there were four guys who actually picked up blocks on the interception return and Mosley picked up three blocks on his own while the others each got one.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide hit the practice field for the first time this week on a cool fall day.
Despite Saban saying that Belue would be the only one in a black jersey this week, Jalston Fowler was wearing one as well. He suffered a concussion against Tennessee but it’s very possible that Saban meant Belue would be the only one wearing a black jersey going forward, so maybe Fowler will be back to near full go Wednesday.
Cornerback Bradley Sylve, who missed the Tennessee game, was practicing but had a visible limp.
Nose tackle Brandon Ivory was a full participant in practice while backup defensive tackle Wilson Love, who didn’t dress for the Tennessee game, stood off to the side during some drills.
Receiver Amari Cooper, who was slowed up a bit during the Tennessee game after receiving a helmet to the knee, looked to be fine during practice. Cooper missed a few plays but did return to the game after the injury.
Defensive end LaMichael Fanning, who is indefinitely suspended, was again not at practice.
Scouts from the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles were attending practice today.
Alabama announced the players of the week for the Tennessee game earlier this week and on offense tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, running back T.J. Yeldon, and receiver Kevin Norwood received the honors.
On defense safety Landon Collins, who was also named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week as well, and linebacker Trey DePriest were the defensive players of the week marking the very first time this season that C.J. Mosley wasn’t one of the players of the week. Dillon Lee and Christion Jones were the special teams players of the week. Jone is also currently the NCAA leading kickoff returner averaging nearly 33 yards a return.
The SEC revealed the kickoff time for the Alabama-LSU matchup for next week as well. Alabama-LSU will kickoff on CBS at 7:00 PM (central).