TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — With it raining outside and to simulate crowd noise, the University of Alabama football team practiced inside in preparation for its upcoming game at No. 16 Mississippi State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).
“They’re doing a great job this year, very effective on offense in terms of what they do,” Nick Saban said earlier Wednesday on the weekly SEC coaches’ teleconference. “Their quarterback’s played really well for them. They’ve had great balance. Their defense has really improved, and Todd Grantham has done a great job with them. This is going to be a challenging game for us and we’re certainly working hard. It’s a tough place to play.
“This is going to be a real challenge for us.”
Here’s what Saban said during his press conference after practice:
• Introduction: November is kind of the time of the year you need to be playing your best football to accomplish the goals you set. I think everyone has to be working hard to do their job and maintain focus. It gets tough this time of year because no one feels great.
• We can’t be our own obstacle. Starkville is a tough place to play. They have a great atmosphere, great spirit. It’s going to be a great challenge for us .
• On Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring) and if he’s close to 100 percent. “I’m a not doctor” — he actually referenced the TV show “The Good Doctor.” But he’s looked good in practice.
• Saban says he’s liked working with Greg Byrne (who used to work at Mississippi State). “He’s done a great job so far.” All of the AD’s have been good to Saban.
• On cornerback Nigel Knott’s status, Saban only offers: “He’s out.” He was on crutches today.
• Saban says he’s seen a big difference in defensive lineman Raekwon Davis’ confidence as the season’s progressed.
• Saban asked about rotations. Usually the more players you have play, the more depth you have and the better team you have.
• On defensive back Tony Brown: When Tony can stay focussed on what he needs to he’s a good player and can be effective. I think he wants to be successful, we just have to help him do it.
Saban: Starkville is a really tough place to play. Every game we've played there has been a tough, physical game. https://t.co/sBFAcEXTIM
— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) November 8, 2017