Alabama Football: How the bye week is going for the Crimson Tide

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Alabama football went back to work Tuesday after taking two needed days to rest on Sunday and Monday. Wednesday included some injury news from Nick Saban.

On Wednesday, one thing was clear from Alabama football coach Nick Saban. Being voted No. 1 in the most recent polls is meaningless to Nick. As it should be. Being No. 1 in January is all that matters and January is a long time away.

Saban’s banged-up Alabama football team needed this bye week. In Tuscaloosa, bye weeks are not ‘off’ weeks. They are all about Crimson Tide football players making themselves better.

For several of those Tide players, this particular bye week is more about getting healthy. For a few, this week’s goal is to become healthier. Some extra rest will not suddenly return Terrell Lewis to full speed. It has become obvious Lewis is still weeks and maybe months away from being 100 percent.

Freshman kicker, Will Reichard is taking this week off, trying to recover from a hip flexor injury. There is a punting competition ongoing in Tuscaloosa but Reichard is not engaged in it this week.

Other ailing Crimson Tiders are D. J. Dale, Henry Ruggs III, Jedrick Wills, Chris Owens and Major Tennison. With Wills and Owens limited, the first unit offensive line at Wednesday’s practice was left to right – Alex Leatherwood, Evan Neal, Landon Dickerson, Deonte Brown and Matt Womack.

After shedding the value of a No. 1 ranking, Nick Saban sent a message to his team,

"Every player creates value by being his best every time he gets the opportunity. The scoreboard shouldn’t matter. Who you’re playing shouldn’t matter. And where you’re ranked shouldn’t matter. And what somebody says on the internet shouldn’t matter. You should be playing because you want to get the self-satisfaction to know you did the best to be the best that you can be. Hopefully, that’s what we can get our players to focus on."

The Alabama Crimson Tide needs a few more winners on defense. Nick Saban said,

"X sets a good example every day… He and Anfernee Jennings have been our two most productive players on defense so far."

X is, of course, Xavier McKinney – the Crimson Tide’s defensive play-caller and unquestioned leader after the injury to Dylan Moses. McKinney is the Tide’s leading tackler and also has an interception.

Nick Saban also had some words of praise for Jordan Battle. Nick said Battle is a “very bright guy” and that the true freshman “has picked up the system quickly.” For a youngster, Battle is already a physical presence on the field.

dark. Next. In today's game, how much defense is enough?

The Aggies have a bye week as well. Jimbo Fisher’s team needs a break even more than does the Crimson Tide – but not for the same reasons.