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Nick Saban Pre-LSU Press Conference

Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Nick Saban held his weekly press conference on Monday afternoon. Saban will be coaching in his 10th game against LSU in his time as the Alabama head coach. The game between the fourth ranked LSU Tigers (8-0, 4-0 SEC) and the seventh ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1, 4-1) will kickoff at 7 p.m. CST at Bryant Denny Stadium on Saturday.

Both teams are coming off a bye week and Saban said that he feels like the Tide had a successful week. Here is his opening statement from Monday’s press conference:

“I think we had a very productive bye week, got a chance to work on a lot of things, a lot of repetitions for a lot of players to improve, but now it’s time to sort of refocus on the task at hand. The players have had a few days off. And I think the goal is for us to play our best football of the year, and to do that, each individual on the team has to play their best. That obviously starts with preparation, and we’re gonna start our preparation for this game today. From an injury standpoint, I think Eddie Jackson is OK. He did practice some last week. I think he’ll be OK to practice today. Ronnie (Harrison) and Dominick (Jackson) will both start back in individual drills and be evaluated and see how they do in practice and how much they can do, and we’ll evaluate that on a day-to-day basis.

“We’ve had some great games with LSU through the years. This has turned out to be a great rivalry, and I think it’s a great rivalry because of the quality of the programs. I think six or seven times since we’ve been here, both teams are ranked in the top 10. That’s obviously a credit to the great job Les Miles has done there in the 11 years that he’s been there and to their players and the way they compete and the quality of players that they have and the great job of coaching that they do. They return 16 starters, a lot of experienced players. They’ve been very, very productive on offense. I think Leonard Fournette is probably, in my opinion — I haven’t seen all the players, but he’s as dominant as any player in the country in terms of the way he plays and what he’s capable of doing as a running back, both running the football and as a receiver.

“The quarterback Brandon Harris has certainly done a really good job of taking care of the football and making big plays when he has to. He’s a dual-threat. He can run. They’ve got really good receivers. Their offensive line is probably the biggest, most physical that we’ve seen all year long. So this is a really good offensive team. They’ve rushed for over 300 yards per game, and they’ve been able to make explosive plays in the passing game that have led to a lot of points.

“Defensively, they’re still ranked in the top 20 in almost every category in the country. They’re difficult to run against. Very good secondary. Very good linebackers. They have a really good pass-rusher in Lewis Neal, who has lots of hurries and lots of sacks. He’s one of the top guys in the SEC. They’re always really good on special teams. They’ve got a lot of team speed. They’ve got very good specialists. So all-around, this is a very, very good football team and no doubt deserve every bit of the ranking they have and probably one of the best teams in the country.”

Saban was also asked about his history in Baton Rouge (as always) but the coach wanted to make it clear that the game wasn’t just the “Saban Bowl” – it’s bigger than that.

“This game is about our players and our team and our program. It has nothing to do with me in terms of any past experience that I’ve had, and my goal is to do the best job that we can as coaches and a coaching staff in preparing our players to play the best that they can all season long. That’s really what it’s all about for me, because every player on this team has worked very, very hard to put themselves in position where they have the opportunity to play against a great team and the game has a tremendous amount of significance for all the things that they’ve worked for all year long. That’s much bigger than anything else that could be considered in this game.”


Caleb Turrentine is a contributor at Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow him on Twitter, @CalebTurrentine.

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