TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban has a lot of respect for Kentucky’s running game.
Running back Stanley Boom Williams leads Kentucky’s rushing attack, but Saban also believes the Wildcats other two running backs — freshman Benny Snell and senior Jojo Kemp — are tough to stop as well.
The Crimson Tide host the Wildcats for homecoming on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
“They have three backs that have been productive, in my opinion,” Saban said during the SEC coaches teleconference. “(Williams is) obviously the most productive, but they’ve been able to run the ball very effectively and they certainly controlled the game last week by controlling the line of scrimmage and running the ball against South Carolina. He’s certainly going to be a challenge for us and maybe the best back we’ve played against so far this year.”
During practice on Tuesday, Alabama outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi could be heard screaming “8 yards a carry” at his position group. That was in reference to Williams season average of 8 yards per carry. Through four games, Williams has rushed for 464 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s third in the SEC with an average of 116 yards per game.
Other highlights from Saban’s time on the teleconference
On how Keith Holcombe has developed throughout his time at Alabama
“Keith has done a really good job for us. He’s battled a little bit with some injury issues and things like that. But he’s been a great special teams player for us and he played really well last week in getting a little more opportunity to play. Hopefully we can keep him healthy and he can continue to progress. He’s one of the guys that’s been around here that knows a little bit what’s going on and what the expectation is, and plays to it pretty consistently.” — Saban
On if he was surprised by Les Miles being fired at LSU
“I think that just sort of evaluating the landscape of college football right now, Idon’t think things like this surprise me. That doesn’t mean that I’m agreeable that it should be that way. I think from a player’s perspective and from a program perspective, to do these kind of things during the season probably is not the best way to go about it. My respect for coach Miles and the great job that he’s done there for a long, long time, I think that maybe a little better way to manage or handle the situation is probably a better way. But, look, Les has done a really good job there. He’s won more games there than anybody else in the history of the program ( think he’s actually behind Charlie McClendon). I have a lot of respect for him and we certainly had a difficult time playing against them through the years. We wish him the best. But I just think college football doesn’t need to do these kinds of things but what I think doesn’t really matter.” — Saban
On getting freshman to play at an SEC level
“I think it’s a work in progress, and every guy responds to it a little bit differently. I think it’s a lot about the maturity of the player and how he looks at what he needs to do to be a college football player. I think a lot of guys have the maturity, understand what they have to do to go out there and work every day to learn how they can be productive players, and that’s their mind-set. And when they do it they improve and have a chance to contribute to the team. Sometimes guys are maybe a little less likely to understand what it takes for them to be a player and the expectations sort of overwhelm them a little bit and it takes them a little longer to develop. But we’ve been pretty fortunate this year to have a group of guys that have been able to contribute and that’s been very helpful to the depth of our team.” — Saban