Countdown to Kickoff
Motley Suffers Fractured Ankle; Washington Gets First Career Start



TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ?? The University of Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban announced today that redshirt freshman nose guard Brian Motley (Autaugaville, Ala.) suffered a fractured ankle during Tuesday’s practice.

“Motley is out for what the doctors say is six weeks,” Saban said following Wednesday’s practice.  “I don’t know if that’s conservative, or what.  He had surgery today to put a screw in.  It is a fracture, it’s not displaced.”

Motley’s injury opens the door for sophomore Lorenzo Washington (Logansville, Ga.), who will make his first career start for the Crimson Tide against Western Carolina.

“Lorenzo Washington will start for him and this does create an opportunity for a younger player,” Saban added. 

Washington played in eight games and logged 32 snaps for the Crimson Tide last season as a backup defensive lineman. 

The Crimson Tide practiced for two hours in shells Wednesday afternoon as the team worked on red zone and third-down situations.  Alabama opens the 2007 season on Saturday, Sept. 1 against Western Carolina at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis with kickoff set for 6:07 p.m. (CDT).

Alabama will hold its final practice of the week on Thursday at 3:50 p.m. and will hold a brief walk-thru on Friday.  All practices are closed to the public. 

Saban will also make his first in-person appearance of the season on “Hey, Coach!” Thursday night at Baumhower’s Wing’s Sports Grille in Tuscaloosa.  The show runs from 6:30-8 p.m. (CDT) on many of the Crimson Tide Sports Network affiliates and Saban will be on hand to field questions from 7-8 p.m. (CDT).

Here are some of Coach Saban’s comments from the SEC teleconference and his post-practice media session Wednesday afternoon.

(On importance of getting into a game-week routine)
“I thought it was really important for our players to experience a normal game week this week.  We could have practiced earlier and cut back later, but I thought since we were a new staff and for future games, especially next week, every player will know exactly what to expect everyday that we practice. 

“A regular game week for us is Sunday off. Monday we got in shells and work on the kicking game and do just base stuff, some seven-on-seven and little bit of team. Tuesday we work in pads.  We work on regular first-and-ten, second-and-long, goal-line and short-yardage.  Then on Wednesday we work on red area and third downs, as well as review the other stuff.  Thursday we work on two-minute drill and two-point plays, so that we cover every situation in the game that we need to cover and each day we have some focus on several parts of the kicking game, working on all of them on Monday and Thursday.  On Friday, we just have a walk-thru and substitution script for the players and use the day to review the week.  I thought it was important that we got through that.  So that in future games the players would not exactly what the routine is.”

(On finally being able to play a football game)
“We certainly appreciate the passion and spirit we have been welcomed here with.  But, at the same time, our focus has always been on trying to make our team better and we are excited about having the opportunity to go play a game.  The focus of this program should be on The University of Alabama and all the people that make it what it is.  I feel like as a representative of that I have an important responsibility to do things correctly.  I am glad that the focus is on the season now and this opening game.”

(Have you ever been under such high expectations before?)
“I think the important thing is I wouldn’t want to coach at any place where they did not have high expectations and they did not expect to win.  I think you have heard me say this before, it’s also important to be realistic about what your expectations are.  It’s great to be optimistic.  It’s not very good to be pessimistic.  But it’s probably most important to be realistic. 

“We want to take our football team and try to get them to play to the best of their capabilities in this season and be very competitive and win as many football games as we can, but I don’t think you can allow your expectations to create a negative attitude when you don’t get immediate self-gratification.”