TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama football team held its first practice following the initial College Football Playoff rankings, and all indications during the media viewing period were that the Crimson Tide were all business.
Earlier, Nick Saban said the following on the weekly SEC coaches’ teleconference with reporters: “I think that discipline this time of year is really, really important. I think it’s important in choices and decisions you make and how you prepare for games, how you get ready to play games. Obviously, this is a big game as every game will be from here on out. The focus has been pretty good and the players have done a good job of managing it. We’ll go out and try to play our best against a very good team.”
The coach reporters for the final time before Alabama’s home game against LSU on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, CBS). Here are the highlights:
• Saban opens by wishing everyone a belated Happy Halloween, “You all look like some trick-or-treatin’ fools,” and says thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday. (He’s in a very good mood).
• Instead of getting up and feeling like you have to be somewhere, “I’m glad to be here. That’s how I feel right now.”
• “We’ve had a very good work week.”
• Running back Josh Jacobs (ankle) is fine, will play. Won’t know about defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (knee) until game time. He needs to have confidence that he can play well.
• Saban said he left a message with Jim McElwain, but hasn’t talked to him. Hopes to do so soon and talked to their shared agent Jimmy Sexton. Saban said he will support him any way he can, that McElwain did a good job to get to the SEC Championship Game, Florida was a tough preparation both years. Added that he’s sorry it didn’t work out with Florida.
• Saban asked about his vote in the coaches’ poll. Says he approaches it very seriously.
• LSU quarterback Danny Etling has done a once job on their offense this year, has more efficient. Hasn’t turned the ball over and has used his feet when necessary.
• When asked if he’s using the CFP rankings as motivation, said he didn’t know the No. 2 ranking until a little while ago. Has no plan to use it is as motivation. Uses comparison of slipping and falling on the ice when not paying attention to what you should be. “I know you all want to make this a big story, but don’t make it about me because it ain’t going to be about me.”
• Final question was on Alabama’s Catapult system. Saban talked about how it’s given them a good baseline and the players can’t lie to themselves about explosiveness, effort, etc.
Saban jokes as he leaves the podium, saying that’s a good question, “but how does it affect the rankings?”