TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama football coach Nick Saban fielded plenty of questions during the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday.
The Crimson Tide (10-0, 7-0 SEC) host Chattanooga on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Here are the highlights from Saban’s time on the call:
On how this freshman class has played and developed throughout the year:
“We’ve had quite a few guys that have contributed in some way. I think you probably know who all those guys are without me going through those guys. We’re very pleased with the group. Really very few issues and problems and a lot of guys have contributed and other guys are developing nicely. We feel like there’ll be a significant number of good players come out of this class. It’s all about development, though. I think that there’s several freshmen that you always have that can contribute, especially at certain positions. And then there’s other guys that develop into really good players over time. So it’s a lot about their character and attitude to do that.”
On if he is ever amazed at how well some of the freshman are playing:
“Well, to be honest with you, once we decide that they’re ready to play they’re really not freshmen any more. Even though you don’t want to overburden them with doing things that they’re not ready to do from a confidence standpoint, you certainly say this guy has proven that he’s ready to play so our expectation is he’s going to play effectively regardless of what his age or class is.”
On the benefit of FBS vs. FCS matchups:
“First of all, we have a total amount of respect for their players, their program, their coaches and the good job that they do. We understand that it does help their schools and it certainly helps our team to be able to go play a game and try to improve and get better and have the proper respect for the team that we play.
Through the years, I’ve been an advocate of playing all Power 5 conference schools, playing more conference games. I know it’s a more difficult schedule but I think it would be better for the fans. In the playoffs right now, if you want to talk about that, that system is if you lose a game you’re on thin ice. If you lose two, it’s almost impossible. I think if we played more like the NFL. The New York Giants won the Super Bowl a few years ago and lost six games. You play quality opponents every week and probably end up losing more games but I think at the end of the day it would be more competitive for everyone involved relative to the fans and players and the selection committee and all the things that go into it.”
On the College Football Playoff selection committee not weighing margin of victory:
“I think it’s the correct approach. I don’t think that disrespecting another team by beating them worse than you need to for your own personal benefit is really any kind of promotion of competitive character that we try to develop in our players in college football. I agree wholeheartedly with that approach. We’ve never been one to try to run up the score on people. We have respect for their players. They all have parents or their coaches and their families and what they work hard to try to accomplish as well.”
On the play of the offensive line since the Southern Cal game:
“I think we’ve made steady improvement there. I think right guard has been — losing Alphonse Taylor and playing several different guys at that position — is still sort of a work in progress. The two tackles and Bradley Bozeman has done a really good job at center. As a group, they’ve made very nice progress and developed a lot of confidence. I think they’ve done a good job for us and made significant improvement.”