Alabama Crimson Tide Wednesday (10/16) Saban Press Conference and Practice Notes


Oct 12, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron (10) passes the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium. Alabama defeated Kentucky 48-7. Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama head coach Nick Saban opened up his Wednesday as you usually does with his weekly appearance on the SEC coaches teleconference.

Saban said that center Ryan Kelly has practiced all week and hasn’t had any problems so far. He said that Kelly should be available for the game if he doesn’t have any setbacks between now and then. He said though Kelly seems to be ready to play he said that he wasn’t sure that he was ready to play a full game hinting that we may see both Kelly and Chad Lindsay against Arkansas.

Saban again emphasized how good Arkansas is running the ball and that nothing that happened in last year’s game or even what happened last week with Arkansas will have anything to do with this game. He said the players need to be ready for how physical the game will be.

Saban again spoke about the lack of turnovers the defense has been able to force so far this season and he said that it’s something they continue to work on because turnover margin is a huge deal in whether or not a team wins.

Following practice Saban spoke to the media again and he felt like practice was much better today, and that the team needs to have the right mindset going into a physical game like this because they don’t play a lot of “two back, downhill running” offenses. Before any questions about last year’s game even came an already annoyed sounding Saban said that he’s been asked too many times about last year’s game and he doesn’t want to hear it anymore. Saban said that Alabama has yet to play it’s best game so everyone has something that they can improve on this week.

Saban then went on to talk about that sometimes the distance between being great and being good is very small and used an example about golfers and how big the difference in pay between the #1 golfer and second place were despite the difference in their score being very small. He cut the tension by cracking a joke about his golf game that seemed to ease the room a bit.

Saban said that the competition between Chad Lindsay and Ryan Kelly has been good for both guys and he thinks it will make them both better and they can both contribute to the offense.

When asked about the regularity that Alabama plays its base 3-4 defense he said that the team hasn’t played much in the 3-4 alignment because of the amount of spread the team has had to face. He said because of the regularity now of having to face spread teams it’s becoming more difficult to play teams that run out of the I-formation and big sets regularly because they don’t see it much anymore.

Saban said that that a defense can run itself out of a play against a team like this by doing poor stunts but it all comes down to winning at the line of scrimmage, hitting the linemen, and shedding blocks to affect the play. “It’s about executing what you have to do, and you cannot do it unless you are physical, strike blockers, and everybody stays in their gap,” Saban said.

Saban praised Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen calling him an “effective passer” and said that he gets the team in the right play and is very efficient.

Practice Notes

The Crimson Tide returned to the practice fields this afternoon outside despite the cloudy skies and threat of rain.

Chad Lindsay was taking most of the first team reps at center after splitting time with Ryan Kelly earlier in the week. This falls right in line with what Coach Saban said during today’s teleconference noting that Kelly would likely play Saturday but probably not the entire game.

Suspended safety HaHa Clinton-Dix was lined up behind Vinnie Sunseri, second in line, during warm ups today. When he began his suspension he was at the back of the line during warm-ups. That obviously doesn’t necessarily mean he’s getting ready to return to the field however.

Cornerback Eddie Jackson doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of the ankle injury that kept him out of the Kentucky game.

Defensive tackle Darren Lake could be heard getting a lot of praise from line coach Chris Rumph during the media’s viewing period. Lake continues to gain more playing time each week much like freshman A’Shawn Robinson.

Other Notes

Yesterday both CBS and ESPN released their mid-season All America teams and both strong safety Vinnie Sunseri and linebacker CJ Mosley were on both teams. Both were first team All Americans on the ESPN team while Sunseri was first team and Mosley was second team on the CBS team.

Alabama quarterback recruit David Cornwell will miss the remainder of his senior season in high school due to a knee injury he suffered two weeks ago. The 6’5”, 240 lb. elite quarterback prospect required surgery to correct the injury but he said today that he still will enroll at Alabama in the spring and plans to practice during the spring.

The official College Football Playoff Selection Committee was revealed today. Among the members are legendary Nebraska coach Tom Osborne, legendary Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez, College Football Hall of Fame quarterback Archie Manning, and former Secretary of State and Alabama grad Condoleeza Rice.