TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke to reporters on Wednesday in his final news conference of Kentucky week.
The Crimson Tide hosts the Wildcats on Saturday for homecoming. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Highlights from Saban’s time at the podium:
- We’ve had a very productive week so far. I talked to you on Monday about how we wanted to try to build some momentum and continue to improve as a team as we get into SEC games here over the next stretch and we certainly have a challenging opponent this week in Kentucky. I like the way the players have responded. Their energy in practice has been good. They’re working hard. I think everybody understands the consequences of every choice and decision that they make relative to how they prepare and how they practice, the decisions they make off the field. All these things contribute to who you are and how successful you can be and that’s certainly something that I think the players have done a good job of this week, so we’re happy about that.
- I know there’s a lot swirling around about Blake Barnett. He did come to see me today before practice with some concerns about his future. Blake is a fine young man, he’s done a great job with his program and we’d love to see him be a part of the program in a future but we also want him to do what’s best for him. I don’t have a final decision on that. Nobody has told me that. You may know more about it than I do so I can’t make any more comments about it other than that.
- From an injury standpoint, Damien (Harris) and Robert) have both practiced. ArDarius (Stewart) has been running and doing some running. I can’t really tell you who could or who couldn’t play. I think these will all be sort of right-before-the-game decisions relative to whether these guys will be ready to go or not.
- Trevon Diggs and Cam Sims did a really good job in the last game. Dieter is still working and doing a good job. Robert has practiced some this week. All the guys, you know who’s on the roster. They don’t fall out of the sky. We’re coaching the guys we have, they’re doing a good job. That’s our main focus and concern, the guys on our team, how can we make them better and how can they be more productive when the game comes, and they’ve been working hard to do that and we’re happy about that.
- I listen. I try to understand. I listen really closely about what the concerns are. Look, I understand that everyone wants to play. I understand that only one guy can play quarterback, although we’ve had a pretty significant competition at that position and both guys have played quite a bit and done good things at times. I try to make them aware of the consequences of the decision that they make and offer some experiences that we have in the past to try to get them to make the best value decision for their future. Sometimes we agree on that and sometimes we don’t, but it’s everybody’s choice to make in terms of what they do. I try to do what’s best for our team and our players on it. My focus has to be on the players that are on our team, who are committed to our team, who are going to work to help this team to be good and try to get better. The guys that put the team first are the most important thing for us right now in terms of us being a better team.
- Keith Holcombe has done an outstanding job for us. He’s one of our core special teams guys. He’s really overcome a lot to be a part of the team. He’s had a lot of injury issues this year that he’s played through and played with. He got to play in the last game and was the player of the game in terms of his production points. We think he’s a really good player and we’re excited about his future and the contribution he’s made to the team. He’s done a really good job for us.