Saban Addresses Miami Connection

It was big news around the nation when the scandal in Miami's football program was revealed in a report by Yahoo Sports and confirmed to some extent by the NCAA, at least insofar as the NCAA has been investigating the matter for some five months.

It was also big news that Alabama had two new staff members who had been a part of the Miami coaching staff and who were identified in he sports report on the Hurricanes asallegedly having been involved.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban's first appearance before media since the allegations was Thursday and he addressed the matter with a statement, but did not take questions on the matter.

He said that Alabama had vetted the staff members through the NCAA. The additions to the Tide staff from Miami are Assistant Coach Jeff Stoutland and Director of Football Operations Joe Pannunzio.

Saban said:

"All this stuff about Miami; I know nothing about Miami. I don't have time to deal with what's going on in Miami.

"I know what goes on in this program, and I know that we do things correctly. We do have people in this organization, who worked there. Before those people were ever hired here we do an NCAA check to make sure they pass all compliance criteria and that they don't have any red flags relative to compliance history. We certainly did that in both of these cases.

Now if any of these people had any wrongdoing I'm sure the NCAA will investigate it in due time and if they did anything wrong  I'm sure they will get the appropriate punishment, which we would do if we had any internal problems in our organization.

"But we're going to continue to control and manage what we do in our organization and do it correctly, and that's basically all we can be concerned about. I don't think anything else needs to be said."

In practice news, Saban said the Tide went into the indoor practice facility for Thursday's work in response to the cumulative effect the heat may have had on the team.

He said, "I think that we've always on occasion based on where our team is from a recovery standpoint with the workload that we're going through as to when they need a little bit of a break from the heat or we may start having more issues if we continue to practice outside. Yesterday was particularly hard on the players even though it wasn't the hottest day. I think it's the cumulative effect of the constant 2-1-2-1 (Two practices a day, followed by on, followed by two, the last of which was Wednesday) so we decided to go inside today to give them a little bit better opportunity to be able to recover and not be in the heat as of today. We'll make that decision on a day-to-day basis. 

"I think that it probably improved on our mental intensity our ability to focus and actually to practice a little bit better, which to me is probably more the objective at this point than getting acclimated to heat that we may never have to play in. So if a guy's not acclimated to the heat by a number of 14 or 15 practices that we've had out there now I don't think he's gonna make it. "

Overall, Saban said, "The practices have been good. The temp has been good. We continue to make improvements. I think there's areas of our team that we need to continue to improve in. There's not an area of our team that we couldn't stand to improve in some phase, some part of whether it's technique, assignments, mental errors, ability to make plays and finish plays. And we continue to stress the fact that we need to finish things. We need to give effort, give toughness and be able to execute regardless of what the circumstance is and have the mental toughness to kind of persevere."

On the injury front, he said that nose tackle Brandon Ivory had a sprained knee that would require some rest, not surgery, and that "he won't be out that long." Offensive tackle Arie Kouandjio has had a patela (kneecap) problem that had flared up and "He may be out a couple of days." Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick "has a leg contusion. He may be out for a couple of days. Those are really the only guys that have injury problems."

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