TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — University of Alabama coach Nick Saban met with reporters for his only on-campus press conference during the Crimson Tide’s bye week.
Here’s some of what he said:
• Introduction: Good to get back to work today. Having a couple of days off was probably good for the players. Had good energy today. Focus is on improvement. The teams that we have coming up are among the best we’ve played, and the best in the division.
• Grading players from games is based on a number of things, including did they get job done and if they did it technically correct. A third portion is on mental errors. Those can be catastrophic because of the outcome. When one player plays one thing and everyone does something else, those can be the worst plays. Production points speak volumes because is usually means they’re doing well.
• On punt returns: All three guys are capable. Confidence level is important, but so is balls security. Will evaluate this week and put the best person out there.
• Alabama doing a little bit on each opponent this week, giving them a taste of what’s coming up so they start getting familiar with it.
• LB Mack Wilson was pegged for the dime package spot this season, had to move him for a while with Rashaaan Evans out to be more of a pass rusher, but he’s back in his primary role and has done a good job.
• Freshman LB VanDarius Cowan was used last week because they might need him against LSU, when the defense will probably be in the base package more.
• On recruiting schedule, Saban said they’ve had some issues adjusting to the early-signing period. Playing it more by ear, but doesn’t see a significant difference in how the players are managing it.
• RB Josh Jacobs has done a really good job, had to overcome an injury. He did a good job rehabbing and has played really well for us. He has a bit of an ankle injury and we hope he’ll be back to full strength next week. Very industrious guy, whatever his role is he embraces it. Been very, very pleased with how he’s progressed.
• On kickoffs: I’m happy whenever the guy kicks it through the end zone and our coverage has been really good. Sometimes it’s better to kick it short of the end zone, but there’s always the threat of an explosive play. We’re not doing it intentionally.
Saban on sticking with Tua after the pick-6: "I think it's important that you show confidence in players."
— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) October 24, 2017
• Would it better to have another bye week? I think it’s going down that road. Saban said making the season longer is not in the best interest of the players because they would still have to practice. Alabama played 15 games two years in a row. That’s a lot of football for these guys.
• Young WRs are doing a good job, are playing with a little more toughness. Their production sort of reflects that.
• There are some teams that are rolling their secondary coverage toward WR Calvin Ridley, Tennessee did it some. He plays with a lot of toughness.