Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban kicked off Monday with his weekly press conference as Alabama gets ready for this weekend’s game with the Chattanooga Mocs.
Saban made it clear right off the bat that watching the film from the Mississippi State game affirmed there was still a lot for the team to learn, especially when it comes to his favorite teaching point; attention to detail. With four lost turnovers – two fumbles and two interceptions (though one interception was questionable at best) – that is an understatement.
Tight end Brian Vogler, who scored the opening TD for Alabama against Mississippi State, will be “day to day” this week due to a sprained ankle he suffered against MSU. He did not practice on Monday. He also revealed that T.J. Yeldon sprained his ankle during the game but was able to finish.
Saban praised kicker Cade Foster and Cody Mandell for their big improvements and great season thus far. Mandell doesn’t qualify for the national punting rankings because he doesn’t average 3.6 punts per game, which is the minimum, but if he did he would rank second in the country with an average of 47.3 yards per punt. Foster’s 91.7 field goal percentage is tops in the SEC and 14th in the country. One of the more remarkable stats for him is that four of his 11 field goals this season have been more than 40 yards, and the only miss he had this year was from 46 yards.
On AJ McCarron’s second interception this past week, O.J. Howard took a pretty hard hit above his shoulders, but Saban said that he felt Howard would be fine but might be limited for the first few days of practice.
Saban said that both fumbles last week came when the ball wasn’t being held properly by the running backs and that he thinks it happens most of the time when a player is trying to make something more out of play. He also addressed the very questionable call by the officials on McCarron’s first inception, and the fact that he didn’t challenge it and the officials didn’t review it. Saban said that he was in bounds and got a little annoyed with the media because several members of the media flatly said during his post game press conference the player was out of bounds.
Alabama safety Landon Collins was asked about the Hail Mary Auburn was able to hit this past weekend to beat Georgia. He said that the Alabama defense works on that every Thursday and he said that Saban emphasizes that they bat the ball down rather than try to intercept it.
“That’s the first thing that comes out of his mouth” Collins said. “If you get the pick, fall down, but the first thing is batting it down and playing the next play. We don’t need anybody being a hero.”
Collins also let it be known that the team was not looking ahead to Auburn because they feel that they had a bad game against Mississippi State and are aware that they need to focus on improving and focus on the game ahead so as to not repeat that performance.
The Tide hit the practice field to begin preparation for the game against Chattanooga on Monday afternoon, and as Saban had said, Brian Vogler was wearing a black, non-contact jersey watching drills.
Running back T.J. Yeldon, who also tweaked his ankle in the game Saturday night, was limited in certain drills but he was wearing his usual practice jersey.
Tight end O.J. Howard seemed to be limping around at times during practice and wasn’t participating in any practice drills. Howard took a big shot late in the game against Mississippi State.
Cornerback Deion Belue was at practice but didn’t look to be participating during drills during the media viewing period.
This week’s team players of the game for the Mississippi State game were Yeldon and Vogler on offense, while safety HaHa Clinton-Dix, linebacker C.J. Mosley, defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson, and safety Jarrick Williams were the defensive players of the week. Landon Collins, Cade Foster, Dee Hart, Cody Mandell, and DeAndre White were the special teams players of the week. Mosley was also named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this year.