Highlights of Saban’s post-practice comments before team left for New Orleans By Garry Harris

Have had really good work so far in practice. Pleased with the energy and enthusiasm the players have had. It’s important that players have a vision of what they want to accomplish. A vision of what they want to do and then everybody in the organization has to take ownership to do their job. That includes all the coaches and players. Everybody has to have faith, trust and confidence in themselves and their ability to do it. They also have to have faith, trust and confidence in their teammates.

Inside linebacker Dylan Moses is out indefinitely with a foot injury. The injury required a pin in his foot, similar to what Mack Wilson and LaBryan Ray had. Wilson and Ray were out three to four weeks before they could do much.

Safety Deionte Thompson has a bruised lower leg. He practiced today. So the injury is not a problem.

From a recruiting standpoint, the early signing period is new, but it is an indication of the kind of recruiting being done. Very pleased with the 15 players signed. There is a lot left to do to finish this class. Can take 23 this year. Basically have eight spots left. The signings today represent a lot of hard work. The coaches did a good job. The players and administration all did a good job. Staff identified the needs and hopes to be able to continue to finish with a lot good players out there who might sign in the next two days or those who might wait until February.

The staff has tried to recruit a quarterback for this class. Will continue to try to do that. If there is a quarterback who would be a positive fit in the organization, the staff would like to have one. The goal is to have four on the roster. That may or may not be possible. The decision will be made based on how recruiting continues to go.

There will be a plan for how to play the running backs in the game. There is only one ball. The guys that are playing well in the game usually get to play a little more and might get a few more touches. There are four running backs the staff has had a plan for. Three of them have played pretty extensively and have made a significant contribution this year. Want everyone to take ownership and be prepared to do their job in whatever the role is.

Still recruiting several defensive backs for this class. Probably going to lose five, maybe more. Would like to replace all of those guys if possible. Recruiting several other guys who the staff feels are really good players and might be able to contribute. Staff feels really good about the three defensive backs signed today. Feel that all are really, really good athletes. Very good players. Jalyn Armour-Davis is a really skilled guy. Saivion Smith is already practicing with the team and the staff can see that he’s going to be a very good player. Josh Jobe was one of the target guys all year long. Still some other guys out there who could help as well.

Anytime you get a guy (like Saivion Smith) that has played in major college football games (when he was at LSU), he probably knows more of what it takes and has more maturity. That probably helps in terms of his readiness to play. Excited that Saivion Smith is here practicing and that the staff can work with him. He’s out there getting reps and getting him ready to be able to make a contribution (next season).

The intensity recruiting in December and the schedule was much more hectic and much more difficult in terms of trying to see more players that you were trying to sign at mid-year or sign early. It’s different. Now the staff will recruit the rest of the recruiting cycle like they have in the past — just there will be a smaller pool of players.

Still working several different combinations in the secondary right now. Have to make some decisions. Staff has a lot of confidence in Deionte Thompson. He’s really improved a lot throughout the year in terms of his knowledge and experience and understanding of what’s expected of him. He has really good range. Need him to play well and staff is confident that he can play well. Not happy that Hootie Jones is out and won’t be able to play.


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