TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke to reporters following practice on Wednesday.
The Crimson Tide will practice on Thursday before departing for Tampa on Friday. Alabama faces Clemson in the national championship game on Monday. Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET. TV: ESPN.
Here are the highlights from Saban’s time at the podium:
- The first two practices have been pretty good for us. The players have a good mindset. I think preparation is so important. We have a shorter turnaround than we did last year. Execution is important.
- I’m proud of the opportunity the team has created for themselves to be in the national championship game.
- We’re playing against a really good Clemson team. I think Deshaun Watson is arguably the best player in the country. He’s a good thrower and runner when they call quarterback runs. They’re one of the top defensive teams in the country, and they have good special teams.
- Jonathan Allen has great hands. He’s very athletic and he strikes well. He uses his hands well and makes a lot of plays. We emphasize using your hands well to our team, and Jonathan does it as well as anybody.
- Getting off the field on third down is always important. When a team wants to go tempo, it’s critical to get off the field.
- The players have responded well to Steve Sarkisian as offensive coordinator. Practice has been upbeat and there has been good energy.
- Jalen Hurts was upset about how he played in the last game. He wants to improve. It’s on us to help him improve going forward.
- We had 25 negative plays on offense. Not enough consistency or execution. We made some plays. Bo Scarbrough played well. A lot of people were frustrated with the way things went, and they’re working hard to get those things corrected. Everybody has to do their job. We have to do a better job as coaches of getting the players ready.
- O.J. Howard has had a great year for us. I know people will look at his amount of catches and judge him on that as if it’s the only thing that matters. But he’s improved as a blocker. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s never gotten upset. I’d like for him to have more production. I’d like for all of our skill players to have better production. We have to do a better job of finding ways to get the ball to them.
- We have three guys who are practicing as early enrollees. Isaiah Buggs, Alex Leatherwood and Kyrig McDonald are practicing. Chadarius Townsend has not been able to practice yet.
- We have a good offensive staff here. They know our system. I meet with them from time to time. We don’t want to change what we do philosophically, but we do want to get more guys involved on offense.
Watch Saban’s full news conference below: