Alabama Crimson Tide Wednesday (09/25) Practice Notes and Interviews


Saban Press Conference/Interview Notes

Like every Wednesday, Alabama coach Nick Saban kicked off the day with his weekly appearance on the SEC coach’s teleconference. But before that, Saban issued a statement announcing that safety Nick Perry is officially out for this Saturday’s game. Saban also acknowledged that Perry would likely need surgery to correct the injury.

Saban opened up saying that Ole Miss would be a challenging game for Alabama and they are again just trying to improve overall as a team heading into the game. Saban called Ole Miss “a really, really good team” and said Alabama needs to play its best football to have success against them.

Saban praised Ole Miss’ quickness on defense and their ability to create negative plays along with the speed Ole Miss has on offense notably running back Jeff Scott. He also praised Ole Miss’ receivers talking about their size and ability to block as well as catch passes.

Saban went into greater detail about the differences between Ole Miss and Texas A&M on offense, which he alluded to on Monday. Saban said that they both use mainly spread formations but that Ole Miss uses a lot of sweeps and other more conventional runs with their running backs while A&M’s running game is much more centered around the quarterback. Saban also said that Ole Miss does a lot more “really difficult” play action passes off their running plays in the spread. While the formations may be similar, the philosophies on offense are completely different according to Saban.

One reporter definitely sounded like he was trying to get Saban to admit some similarities between this team and the 2010 team, which many have speculated about, but Saban didn’t bite and simply said they need to progress and get better if they’re going to be the team they’re capable of being.

Saban then spoke again after practice and felt today’s practice was good, but still feels the team needs to be much more consistent to be as good as they need to be. Saban went on a mini rant about expectations and how it seems like “everyone” has been overrun with expectations. He said he’s been preaching this “since the beginning of time” and again said this team has not won back to back championships and it needs to find its own identity. Saban seemed to take not just the players and coaches to task, but also the fan base.

“They need to be supported and everybody doesn’t need to just sit around and say, “wow, what’s wrong with these guys?” These guys need to develop and they need a lot of positive energy around them and they need positive energy themselves. We need to acknowledge when they do it right and they need positive reinforcement for it so we can be positive, we can grow, and we can be excited about the challenges we have in the future.”

Saban mentioned how the fans could affect the game by making it tougher for Ole Miss to communicate by making a lot of noise and that excitement can also lift up the team.

Yesterday CJ Mosley mentioned that he spoke out to the team after the Colorado State game about being more consistent and stepping their game up. Saban said that he didn’t think there was “any doubt about it” that the players take it much more seriously when a quiet player like CJ Mosley speaks up and he says that leadership is supposed to reinforce the principals of the organization, and when players don’t do what they’re supposed to do the leaders should take them to task for that. Saban made note that there are always players on every team that don’t “buy in” whether or it’s because they’re frustrated or aren’t playing, and that the leaders have to affect those players rather than the players that “don’t buy in” negatively affecting the leaders. Saban also mentioned how AJ McCarron and some other players on the team also spoke up along with Mosley.

Saban commented that both Adrian Hubbard and Denzel Devall have played well and continue to develop, but they still have work to do to be as good as they can be.

In regards to the lack of communication that both Saban and AJ McCarron have commented about on offense that hurt the offense against Colorado State, Saban felt the communication has been much better this week. He did say that though it was good this week it’s all about consistency and having good communication “all of the time instead of some of the time.” He said that having Anthony Steen back this week should help that.

Practice Notes

  • Alabama returned outside for practice today and despite likely needing surgery soon Nick Perry remained on the practice field today, though he was the only member of the team in a black, non-contact jersey.
  • Starting tight end Brian Vogler had a wrap on his right leg today and seemed to be limping a little, but it didn’t stop him from participating fully in practice.
  • Amari Cooper, Deion Belue, Jarrick Williams, and Kevin Norwood all continue to participate in practice with no limitations thus far.
  • Scouts from both the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots attended practice today. Former Alabama center Barrett Jones currently plays for the Rams while former Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower is a starter for the Patriots.

Other Notes

  • In an interesting story about former Alabama safety Robert Lester, who got his first start in the NFL this past weekend, he brought his first career interception to former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton after the game. Cam Newton said this week that he went to Lester last week and “challenged” Lester to set their differences aside (the Alabama-Auburn history) because they expect big things from the rookie safety. Lester told Cam Newton that he would get an interception in his first game, and when he did he was bringing the ball to him. On Sunday Lester did just that. Lester, a former All American at Alabama, was not drafted in this past year’s NFL Draft but signed as a free agent with the Carolina Panthers. He originally did not make the final team roster after training camp, and was signed to the practice squad. That is until a rash of injuries in the secondary forced the Panthers to sign Lester this past week to the main roster. Lester responded in his first career start by recording 5 tackles, a pass breakup, and his first career interception. I think I can speak for the entire Bama nation when I say we’re all proud of Lester and ROLL TIDE!
  • In a funny moment at Youngstown State coach Eric Wolford’s press conference today, a reporters phone interrupted him mid-sentence by going off. Wolford smiled and said, “Coach Saban would body slam you, right now” as the room erupted in laughter.