TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama football team held its first postseason practice on Friday as the Crimson Tide began preparations to face Clemson in the Sugar Bowl semifinal on Jan. 1 (8:45 p.m. , ESPN).
Here’s what Nick Saban had to say afterward:
• It’s good to get back to work with the opportunity that we have. Everyone should be motived. Everyone needs to look at themselves and figure out what they need to do to contribute to our success. Players worked out on their own while we were recruiting. We’re beginning with fundamentals during practice. Tuesday begins the Clemson prep.
• Coach Jeremy Pruitt will be back Sunday. We’ll do as much as we can to support him with his efforts here.
• Saban took pictures with 13 players, two former players, who will graduate this weekend. Rolando McClain and Glen Coffee the ones who came back to finish up.
• Saban offers congratulations to Minkah Fitzpatrick for winning the Thorpe and Bednarik awards, and guys who were named All-Americans.
• Incoming players Saivion Parks and Jarez Smith will start practice tomorrow.
• Pete Golding has been hired, technically as a 10th coach, but can’t join team until Jan. 10. His specific title has not ben determined. No other staff issues right now, “there’s not enough time in the day” with everything going on.
• Clemson offense is just as good as last year. “The quarterback now may be a better runner, if that’s possible, than the guy we played the last two years.”
• Saban on passing game, all aspects need to get better. The overall efficiency is everyone’s responsibility is something we need to improve upon. We have too many guys who can make plays and we have to utilize their talents.
• Mack Wilson not 100 percent, but has a chance to improve. Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis are full go. Minkah Fitzpatrick “is better.” Hope for no setback, that’s the goal on Minkah. Hootie Jones and Shaun Dion Hamilton are out for the season.
• Intern Wes Neighbors is handling the drills the first couple of days with Pruitt. Everyone else is chipping in. Tosh Lupoi is overseeing the position group.
• Saban asked about early signing period. Still doesn’t like it. “I don’t see how it benefits anyone.” It’s very stressful on everyone. Some players are getting more pressure to sign early, which might cost him a chance to sign later with a bigger school. “Maybe I shouldn’t be speaking like this,, but I haven’t talked to one coach” who likes it. “But we’re dealing with it.
• Saban asked about self-scouting from the Auburn game and said his focus has been on recruiting. “There’s only so much we can do. We’ve been really focused on recruiting for the last three weeks.”