Oct 26, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban looks on from the sidelines against the Tennessee Volunteers during the fourth quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Following last week’s bye week Nick Saban opened up LSU week with his usual Monday press conference.
Saban kicked things off by saying pleased about the way the players practiced last week, as well as many of the injured players getting healthy.
“We really don’t have any injury issues,” Saban said. He talked up the rivalry with LSU and said this game always means a lot in the season, whether it’s SEC standings or national rankings every year. He mentioned that LSU could very easily be 9-0 at this point and praised many of the talented players for LSU especially on offense. He also pointed out that LSU is the best team in the country on 3rd down conversion rate and said, “they are the most talented and explosive team on offense we’ve seen,” which is a scary thought. He referred to this game as a “heavyweight fight.”
In regards to a hot topic in sports right now, hazing, Saban said hazing isn’t tolerated at Alabama and said that his approach has always been to try and get older players to remember how they felt as a new, younger player trying to adjust to coming to college and try to help those younger players out.
Saban went on to praise LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger and his extremely talented receiver tandem of O’Dell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. He called the LSU offense the most challenging offense Alabama has faced all year.
Saban said to try and stop Mettenberger’s efficiency on third down, the best way is try and effect him with pressure as well as trying to make him make quick decisions without having to chance to look over the field. He said that also puts a lot of pressure on the defensive backs as well. He pointed out the many short passes that the LSU receivers have turned into explosive plays and how the Alabama DBs have to make sure tackles even when they do catch passes.
Saban was asked about the 60 Minutes piece on Saban and the Alabama program. H said he was working until pretty late last night and hasn’t had a chance to see it, but that he did receive a favorable remark from Mrs. Terry, which to him means it must have been pretty good. He said a piece like that doesn’t represent him, it represents the program and all the good it does.
After the piece on Rolando McClain last week for ESPN, Saban was asked today how concerned he is about Ro’s future. Saban said that the program is supporting him and that he has a lot of potential as a leader and is extremely talented. He said that Ro stopped by his office last week to wish Saban happy birthday and he seemed to be doing very good right now.
The Crimson Tide hit the practice field again today as preparation for LSU begins.
Cornerback Deion Belue looked to be at full strength or close to full strength at practice. Fellow corner Bradley Sylve saw his work increase today as he looks to be getting closer to 100 percent as well. Sylve was said to have looked to be moving a lot better already this week. Either Sylve or Cyrus Jones will likely start opposite of Belue this weekend.
Nose tackle Brandon Ivory is back at his usual spot with the starters.
Suspended defensive end LaMichael Fanning was again not at practice today.
Freshmen quarterbacks Cooper Bateman and Parker McLeod are playing the part of LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger (2,492 yards, 19 TD, 7 INT) for the scout team. Freshmen running backs Derrick Henry and Altee Tenpenny are playing the part of LSU running back Jeremy Hill (922 yards, 12 TD) while Tyren Jones plays the role of LSU’s Terrence Magee (376 yards, 5 TD). Freshman receiver ArDarius Stewart is playing the role of Jarvis Landry (882 yards, 8 TD) for the scout team.
Freshman running back Alvin Kamara was not spotted during the media’s viewing period. He went through minor knee surgery during fall camp but has been practicing as regular since the beginning of the season. There has been no word on an injury.
Receiver Christion Jones was dealing with a minor injury last week but seemed to be 100% today.
In a pretty funny moment, AJ McCarron and Kevin Norwood were getting ready for interviews today they began joking around with each other. Norwood said that McCarron was trying too hard to be like Robin Thicke in regards to his hair while McCarron pointed out a bit of a balding area on Norwood’s head by calling him “Rasheed Wallace.” Norwood responded by saying that they everyone had already seen it because “EPSN shows it enough.” AJ said that Norwood had been watching too many Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus “twerk” videos.
The SEC announced the TV schedule for November 16th. The Alabama vs. Mississippi State game will kickoff at either 6:00 PM on ESPN or 6:45 PM on ESPN2. CBS will be choosing between the Georgia vs. Auburn game and the South Carolina vs. Florida game. And then ESPN will put the game that CBS doesn’t choose on ESPN or ESPN2 and Alabama/Mississippi State as the other game on ESPN or ESPN2.