Alabama coach Nick Saban watched his most recent class of NFL prospects work out for pro scouts, coaches and executives at the Crimson Tide’s Pro Day on Wednesday afternoon.
But with a new season beginning Friday, Saban was eager to discuss his current roster.
Saying the Tide have “a lot of questions to answer” during spring practices, Saban explained how Alabama’s most recent national championship will affect his team as it seeks a repeat.
“This team’s gotta create their own identity,” Saban told SEC Network. “What last year’s team did will have nothing to do with how we do next year. All it did was create the fact that we’re gonna be the target for a lot of teams because we had success. I think our players need to be ready for that challenge.”
Here are some of his other thoughts from Wednesday (from both his SEC Network interview and the media scrum):
On NFL teams’ approach to Pro Day… “There’s a lot of criteria that you have for each and every position, but I think what a lot of people are looking for is a good teammate, which means they’re good guys, they have good habits, they have good character.”
On linebacker Reggie Ragland… “If there’s any question about his ability to play every down, I think people are really wrong about that. I think he can play standing up in space, and I think he can rush as well … He does have some pass-rush abilities, which we didn’t really develop here because he didn’t play that position for us … I think that’s an area where people will be surprised in how they’ll be able to develop him as a pass rusher as well.”
On Jake Coker not getting invited to the NFL scouting combine… “I think Jake didn’t get invited to Indy because 97 juniors went out. And I think that’s a whole other conversation … They should’ve stayed in school and developed. But because the NFL wants to see guys that they don’t know much about, guys like Jake Coker don’t get to go to the combine. I think that’s very, very unfortunate, and I think for the number of players that we’ve had play here and play in the NFL, Jake Coker should’ve been invited to the combine … He’s got a great arm and can make all of the throws, and for his size, he’s very athletic, and I think a lot of people are going to like that.”