In his opening comments following the first practice, Nick Saban made clear his objective for the team in fall camp.
“I think it’s important for the players to understand that the time is now,” Saban. Said. “Everything you do all year long, the off-season program, spring practice, summer conditioning, is in preparation for the next four or five months.
“I think for this team the challenge is to sort of resurrect our identity in terms of what we want Alabama football to be. I’m very confident in the players that we have, but I also think it’s up to them to buy into what they need to do to be all they can be—their preparation, their performance, the mindset that they have to go through the process of what they need to do to be successful. I’m talking about giving effort, finishing plays, mental and physical toughness, things that I thought started to show up a little but that I thought were not beneficial to our success.
“We want to be a team, and we want our identity to include “we,” which means all players are together, take care of each other, and take responsibility to represent the university, the program and their families in a first class way.”

As he does at the start of every camp, Saban issued a stern reminder that there is no depth chart. “I say this every year, but you never get it, because you guys can’t operate unless you have something on a piece of paper that you can rank in some kind of order. We do not have a depth chart,” Saban said. “Whatever we do out there is for administrative purposes. Everybody that we have on the field has an opportunity to compete. Some players have have had an opportunity in the past to show what they can do, so I think it’s important that we look at some other guys to see what they can do.
“I was really pleased with how our players came back relative to their conditioning tests to end the summer workout program. We just need to work on the mindset of finish, mental toughness, perseverance in some tough times.”

Saban announced that two of the freshmen signees would not report this fall. It had been previously reported that offensive lineman Montel McBride would begin his career in a junior college. Saban also said that highly-regarded running back signee Bo Scarbrough had not qualified.
“We have an appeal in place, because he was very close to qualifying. That will take some time,” Saban said. “We have a plan here at his high school for him to do the things he needs to do to be able to qualify. Our goal is to get him here in January.”

The biggest surprise on the first day of practice was that sophomore cornerback Eddie Jackson was participating in drills. Jackson suffered a knee injury that required surgery last spring.
“Eddie’s doing really, really well,” Saban said. “He’s had a really successful rehab over the summer. We’d like to not push the envelope too far. So we’re going to keep him on a pitch count and gradually increase him until he gets back to one-hundred percent.
We’re very encouraged with where he’s at. We’re making no predictions on when he’ll be ready to play.”

Saban was asked about the chemistry between the quarterbacks—Blake Sims, Jacob Coker and Cooper Bateman—battling for the top spot.
“I think all of the guys are working hard. All of them have the capabilities to develop.
“I think it’s going to come down to three things. It’s going to come down to the guy who can have the best judgement, decision-making relative to what we need him to do. The guy who can be accurate in throwing the ball to the right place at the right time to give guys the opportunity to make plays, and their leadership to affect other people. Those are the three things at that position that are the most important to me, to see who can do that the best.
“It’s going to take some time and giving guys some repetition to sort that out. We’re not going to be in a hurry to make a prediction as to what is going to happen at that position. We can’t make something happen before we get an opportunity to evaluate it fairly for everybody.”

On Kirby Smart’s moving back to coach the secondary, the position coached by Greg Brown last season. “I don’t think the issues last year was coaching,” Saban said. “I think that lack of experience last year created a lot of issues, lot of mistakes, lot of mental errors and an inability to play with consistency. But actually when you look out there this year, even though we lost a couple of guys, we seem to have more guys with more experience. I know those were some painful times that we all had to go through, but I think those guys are more confident and I think they can be more consistent. And I think we have the addition of a few young guys that are really talented that are going to be beneficial as well. Last year we had the most inexperience in the secondary that we have ever had in terms of playing their position.”

Saban said that right guard Leon Brown, who has an injured foot, will be limited in practice for at least two more weeks.
Linebacker Tim Williams and defensive linemen Jarran Reed and Brandon Ivory are suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules and policies. “Each guy can return to the team on completion of a requirement of what they have to do relative to their suspension,” Saban said. “I have no date that I can give you that that’s going to be completed.
“We have a lot of good players, a lot of good people in our program, a lot of guys that do a lot of good things on and off the field. We’re certainly focused on those guys that we have here to develop them to be the best players they can be, because they’ve demonstrated they’re willing to do the things they need to do to have a chance to be successful.”

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.