TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The University of Alabama team held a two-hour practice Wednesday afternoon at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility as preparations continue for Saturday’s non-conference showdown with the Florida State Seminoles at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.
“We certainly worked hard on the basics and got back to working on the fundamentals,” Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban said following Wednesday’s practice. “We are trying to work hard on the commitment to discipline and getting it right and controlling what we can control and improve what we can improve. We have talked about excellence is a habit. When you do things right and you have good habits it becomes spontaneous in terms of how you react and how you do things.
“Everybody has to evaluate his own individual performance to see what part of the problem they are, whether it’s coaches, players or all of us. We have to do something to make a difference and try to make some kind of change to help us improve. I’ve been fairly pleased for the most part with the way the team has responded to that. Every guy needs to make a difference. Everybody’s role is important. Most of the guys are trying to do the things we want and we will have to replace the guys that don’t as soon as we can replace them.”
Saban also said on Wednesday that senior linebacker Darren Mustin (Brentwood, Tenn.), sophomore nose guard Brian Motley (Autaugaville, Ala.), redshirt freshman tight end Preston Dial (Mobile) and senior kicker Jamie Christensen (Norcross, Ga,) have all returned to practice and could be available for Saturday’s game with Florida State.
Saban also noted that junior offensive lineman Cody Davis (Tuscaloosa) “is another guy that came back to practice this week and had another problem with his shoulder and probably going to be out indefinitely.”
The Alabama-FSU game will be aired by CBS Sports with Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter) calling the action. The kickoff time is set for 4 p.m. (CDT).
Saban addressed the media during the SEC Head Coaches teleconference Wednesday morning and again following practice. Here are some of his comments:
On Florida State
“We are certainly going to have to continue to improve playing a national power with a lot tradition like Florida State. It is an opportunity for us to play and out of conference game. It gives a lot of exposure to both teams and certainly both teams have national reputations. Florida State has a great football team. Defensively, they are the best we have played against all year, relative to their players and how they play. Offensively they have good enough players to score points. They have excellent skill guys. They are outstanding on special teams. This is going to be a very challenging game for us and our focus needs to be on what we need to do to improve and get right ourselves.”
On the excitement surrounding this game
“We are excited about the game. I think it’s a great game for us from a program standpoint. It’s a great opportunity for our players to play against a great football team from a great league. We are representing the SEC. It’s almost like a bowl game. It’s a national television game. We are playing at a neutral site. We are playing against a team that is a national power and has great tradition and a great coach, who is the winningest coach of all time and a great person. He is certainly someone I have always tried to emulate in this profession; relative to his class and the way he has as done things. I think it’s an outstanding opportunity for our players. We are very excited about playing the game.”
On whether knowing FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and having Kevin Steele on staff gives some added insight
“They may know a little bit about what we do and we may know a little bit about what they do, but you never know when they are going to do it, so you always have to adjust and play the game and it’s going to come down to the execution of the players on both sides of the ball.”