Nick Saban, Brian Daboll and Jeremy Pruitt all participated in the press conference part of Alabama’s Media Day on Saturday morning.
Here’s some of what they had to say:
• Saban begins with talking about how the team needs to establish its identity. First two practices went well. Every players needs to ask themselves “What you want?” in terms of goals, and “What are you willing to do for it?”
• Alabama did two days in shorts, will now have two days in shells before going to full pads. Previously Fan Day was the first day in pads, but that won’t be the case today.
• Daboll is a good teacher, the players have a lot of respect for him. He’s very enthusiastic. They carried over a lot of the offense, but there are some new things. He’s helped Hurts a lot fundamentally and has improved a lot.
• He’s well organized and that’s what we want out of our assistant coach. Having been in the Patriots organization for so lingoes reflected in how he’s dealing with players, etc.
• Daboll having been in the NFL so long won’t be much of an issue. A lot of things are same at both levels.
• Former wide receiver Diggs won’t be a two-position player, he’s considered a cornerback and focussed on that.
• Saban on Daboll’s defensive background: Any good offensive coach understands defense. He knows, he was a quarterback before moving to defensive back.
• Linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton has worked hard and is doing really well. He’s confident that he’s healthy.
• Players are more into offseason preparation in general when you have a big opponent in the first game. The game also goes a long way in telling coaches where they are and what they really need to work on.
• Pruitt used a similar system elsewhere, so the transition wasn’t that difficult. He got the good players to play well last year, “That was the key.” The continuity of the defensive coaching staff will help this year.
• We’ve been working hard to establish an offensive identity and have a long way to go.
• You try and be aggressive as an offensive guy and take away the defense’s strengths.
• I have a lot of respect for Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Detail-oriented, organized, our manta is go do your job. Great leader, demanding, tough, he’s a great guy to work for.
• A lot of things are the same between the college-level and the pros. It’s still about the details and player development.
• It would be foolish to run one kind of offense that may not suit your players. Need to mix and match.
• His name is pronounced like table, Day-bull.
• Running back is a position you can’t have too many of them. All five guys are good.
• Hurts is an extremely hard worked. Dedicated to his craft. We’ve watched every piece of film on him. Has really improved his feet, eyes as he’s working hard on his fundamentals, which is the key.
• Daboll was raised by some “old-school” grandparents, who were demanding, who helped prepare him for this kind of lifestyle. You teach them what to do, you help them do it and then you expect it.
• Daboll asked how Saban is different from when he was at Michigan State. Said he’s pretty consistent. He looks the same. “I can’t say the same. I have to get in his diet plan.”
• When asked if rub routes can be effective at the collegiate level, Daboll said “We’ll see.”
• Belichick and Saban are “two pretty good guys to learn from.”
• We lost a lot of talented players, but have a lot on the roster. We have good competition at every position.
• Da’Ron Payne is working to try and be more of a three-down lineman.
• On blitzing. We had some guys to do more last year. We’ll see how we develop this year.
• Something that’s unique here is the player development. We split the team into four units during practices so everyone gets a chance to develop every day.
• When asked about the defensive ends, said there’s no depth chart. Consistency will be the key to developing some depth. It’s the one thing our guys have to prove.
• Minkah Fitzpatrick is a unique player who can line up anywhere. As a coach you’re more than tempted to move him around and it allows you some flexibility.
• Pruitt asked about his familiarity with Florida State’s offense after working there for a year. He dodged the question. “We’re focussed on us.”
• Diggs moving from wide receiver at this point means he has no bad habits.
• Pruitt asked who might be the Alpha dogs of the defense, tied it to leadership, it’s something that develops.
Video of all three coaches will be posted later today on SEC Country.