TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team worked in full pads Wednesday afternoon, it’s second of three open date practices this week. The Crimson Tide will hold its final practice of the week on Thursday and lift weights on Friday morning before taking the weekend off.
The Tide began Wednesday’s practice outside at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility, despite a few rain showers in the area, and concluded the two-hour session in the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility.
“This is a good week for us,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “We’ve had six games in a row. I think our team is a little emotionally and physically tired, so we have gotten a little rest and we are working on fundamentals. I think that is a good thing for our team right now. Obviously, we have a difficult second half coming up. Things are going well for us.”
Alabama junior linebacker Cory Reamer and senior free safety Rashad Johnson expressed the importance of working on fundamentals this week.
“We are correcting our mistakes,” Reamer said. “We’ve made a lot of mistakes that have almost cost us a game. That is a big emphasis for us. We are also starting to prepare for the teams we will play in second half of the season. The main thing is to focus on our techniques and getting to stuff we haven’t had a chance to do during game week, like we did in camp. So we are working on techniques and our assignments and trying to be more assignment sound.”
“This week at practice, we are going to focus on Ole Miss a little bit, but I think it’s a more of focus on us to get back to the fundamentals,” Johnson said. “There have been some games where we haven’t been doing the fundamentals right. We’ve been lucky that some of the other teams haven’t noticed some of the plays and opportunities that they had. So we are working on the fundamentals and doing the little things right this week.”
Following an open date this weekend, the Crimson Tide will return to its normal game-week schedule on Monday. Alabama’s (6-0) next game is Saturday, Oct. 18 against Mississippi (3-3) in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be televised by CBS Sports and kick off is set for 2:30 p.m. (CDT).
Coach Saban also participated in the SEC Head Football Coaches Teleconference on Wednesday morning and here are some of those comments:
On Eryk Anders as a pass rusher:
“Eryk has always had some pass-rush ability. He has good speed. He plays hard. I think with Eryk it’s been more finding the right spot for him, finding a position, getting him to learn the position so he can execute with confidence. In the last three or four weeks, he has certainly done a better job at that and done a good job when he has had the opportunity in the games.”
On Coffee’s fumble troubles:
“He has had a couple where he has gotten the hat put on the ball which is always difficult. I think fundamentally, what we are most interested in as coaches, is making sure we are carrying it correctly. That is certainly something that we want all of our backs to do and there have been some occasions where several of our backs have not carried the ball properly and whether they have fumbled or not, it certainly enhances their chances of fumbling. We were swinging the ball a little bit on the second fumble and not pressing tight. We always want to emphasize that and do drills in practice that emphasize that so we don’t have those circumstances. You know, fumbling and turnovers are something that are critical to winning and that is something we want to coach against and not be able to do.”
On finding quality defensive tackles in college football:
“I think defensive lineman are probably, whether it’s the draft in the NFL or in college recruiting, probably are one of the most difficult areas to find players because you are looking for guys that have size, athleticism, can run, rush the passer. It takes a pretty good athlete, but it takes a pretty good size guy to be effective in those areas. I’ve always felt like that’s one of the most difficult areas to find numbers of players to recruit. I do think, maybe in the southeast, we may have a few more prospects that have the size and athleticism that you’re looking for. I’ve never recruited in the northwest, so I don’t know about that. The Midwest on occasion we would find some, but we did a lot of national recruiting there to find those kinds of guys. And we were fortunate that we had some good ones.”