Nick Saban met with local journalists on Wednesday night for the last time before the game week begins next Monday in Tuscaloosa.
He spoke for a little over 13 minutes. Here are some of the highlights:
Saban called this “hump week” for the team after finishing what he considered a camp after last Saturday’s scrimmage.
– They need to work with the scout team’s preparation and how fast / physically they train, Saban said.
The early preparations for the opening of 26. September with Missouri began Tuesday. “We will continue to do so tomorrow,” Saban said. “I think it’s something that the players have to put in their view that we have a game coming and we are not practicing just to practice. They need to change their mindset, and with it changes the sense of urgency, immediacy, playing smart, getting things done in meetings and being able to take it to the field and get your mind right so you are ready to compete and play a game. “
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– On a COVID-19 topic, Saban said they now test players daily instead of three times a week. “We just thought it would give the players peace of mind,” Saban said. “It’s the best thing for the players. That’s the best thing about the program. We have the capacity and resources to do that, so we are happy to do that. ”
– Saban said that the second year security Jordan Battle had a very good scrimmage on Saturday. He had as much production as anyone on defense at Bryant-Denny Stadium with a power fummer, a reclaimed fumble. Saban also liked his physical style and confidence within the scheme.
– Saban got a little fire in his stomach when he was asked about the level of buy-in on the list. He said the older players get it while the young ones still get a feel for it. “These guys are starting to realize, ‘How are you being rated for the next level?’ They think it’s just how they play in the game. But we have people here who see practice all the time. We have people watching rehearsal tapes the days they are not here. Things get evaluated, not just their performance, how their teammates react to making a good game, how they react to it. ”
Saban also said they recently had a NFL speaker who told freshmen that they were already monitoring their Twitter accounts. “When you post, they do some sort of assessment of what you send and what you do,” Saban said.
– At the new sports science center, Saban said the impact is likely to be felt more long-term. “But I still think our players can benefit from a recovery point of view, from a physical rehabilitation point of view because of the good facilities we have,” Saban said. “But I think every single player is different, and every injury is different, and everyone’s ability to recover is a little different. I think our medical staff and our strength and conditioning people do a great job of getting these players to do what they need to do individually so they can maintain, they can perform, they can stay harmless and I think it will all be positive for us in the long run. ”
Saban said he was happy for the Big Ten players after Wednesday’s announcement that they would play in the autumn.
The offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor has improved a lot in the autumn, lost weight and is in very good shape. “He is very smart as a player,” Saban said. “He can play several positions, center and guard. We look at him as a starter and he can start more positions for us and he definitely gets a lot of playing time. ”
– With the offensive, Saban said he sees seven who can start. It’s just a matter of finding the right five.
– Defensive lineman Christian Barmore’s minor knee injury could keep him out of the opening with Missouri.
– Quarterback Mac Jones had a strong scrimmage on Saturday, and Saban gave an assessment of where the fourth-year junior stands. “When Mac stays on his own and is worried about doing what he has to do and performing and doing the things that he is coached to do, he is very, very effective,” he said. “When he stays focused on the play and does not get upset about what happened on the play before, he is very, very effective. He has shown an ability to do much better this year. I think it’s a sign of maturity and understanding of what he needs to do to play football that wins at his position. ”
Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande or on Facebook.