Tide Players Plan To Watch Games

Want to know how Alabama football players will spend their Saturday with no Crimson Tide football game? Big surprise: football players are also football fans, and most Bama players will be watching football on television.

Alabama tight end/H-back Preston Dial is typical of most (though not all) Crimson Tide players. His plan for the bye Saturday is "sit on that coach and watch as many games of football as possible." And eat.

"I'm one of those guys who has to keep eating," said the 240-pound Dial. "I can get skinny in a hurry. Or I can gain wait. I have to work to stay right in the middle."

For this weekend he's thinking he needs "Steaks and lots of carbs. I need to gain a little weight after this stretch we've had."

The stretch is eight consecutive games to start the season. Though there is disappointment in the Alabama camp about the one loss, the Crimson Tide has had reasonable success, a 7-1 overall record, 4-1 Southeastern Conference mark, and ranking of sixth in the nation.

Alabama returns to action next Saturday at LSU. The Fighting Tigers are also 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC and also are open this weekend.

Bama is seventh in the BCS rankings. The Tide will have the opportunity to play the number one team, Auburn. Conventional wisdom has it that a one-loss Alabama with a win in the SEC Championship Game would pass any undefeated non-BCS teams (Boise State, TCU or Utah). There are three undefeated BCS teams, and Bama probably needs at least two of those three – Oregon, Michigan State, Missouri – to lose a game. That is out of Bama control. This is a weekend in which Alabama possibly could get some help with Oregon going to Southern Cal, Michigan State playing at Iowa, and Missouri going to Nebraska.

Dial, however, intends to watch "the guys we have still up on our schedule. I haven't had a whole lot of time to watch a whole lot of film on them. I've had a chance to see each team a little bit. I know our coaches have put in a lot and we've seen some of their looks trying to get ready for them, but I'm looking forward to seeing them on TV and watching film on them and preparing."

The teams left on Bama's schedule on television Saturday are Mississippi State (hosting Kentucky) and Auburn (playing at Ole Miss).

Although Bama has not even begun preparation for LSU (that starts Monday in a normal game week), Dial acknowledges that the team has had some exposure to future opponents. The players, however, don't yet know what they have seen.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban uses an open date to work on schemes that his team has not seen this season but can expect to see in future games. "He'll sneak in some looks here and there," Dial said. "And when that week game approaches and it comes up again, you say, ‘Oh, we practiced that already.'"

Dial said the practice technique is a "huge" help to the players. "It's a ot easier to see it and be able to recognize it after you've seen it a few times," he said.

Dial also said he thought the three days of practice in the bye week went well with good tempo and effort. "I think we got better," he said.

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