Saban Says More Improvement Needed

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said there was improvement when the Crimson Tide had its second and final scrimmage of fall camp Saturday. Now, he said, the emphasis will be on continued improvement, specifically fundamental improvement. He also mentioned mental toughness.

Alabama had two days off following Saturday's scrimmage. The Crimson Tide returned to the practice field Tuesday for a two-hour practice in full gear in blistering heat.

"We have been off for two days, and obviously this is the time you try to get your players back," Alabama Coach Nick Saban said Tuesday. "At the same time, there is a lot of fundamental improvement that we need to make. I think the things coming out of the scrimmage that we need to improve on are mental toughness as a team, especially the younger players to be able to persevere, sustain and finish plays. stay focused on what you need to do, focus on the details and finish. Those are the big things as an overall team we need to improve on."

Alabama will host Kent State to open the 2011 season on Sept. 3. The Tide is not in game-week mode yet, though. Saban said the team would "look at some things that our first four opponents do that is a little bit different, and we will probably start working on Kent State on Friday."

In assessing the scrimmage, Saban said, "Offense continuing to improve on the route-running in tandem with the quarterbacks. We had a few too many turnovers. We did a much better job in protection, much better job in running the ball, more physical on the line of scrimmage.

"Defensively, the second team gave up far too many big plays, too many mental errors, need to play zone better, missed too many tackles, need to tackle better, had too many penalties.

"First defense played pretty decent, but we need more guys to be able to compete and finish and be responsible.

"You can't develop the attitude we are going to endure practice. Every rep you get you've got to finish, you've got to give effort. You've got to give all you've got until you can't go any more and then we'll put somebody else in. It's the only way you get to the next level. I think in the conditions we've been in for the last week or so, that's a dangerous place to go, you just start enduring practice rather than going out with a purpose and improving on things you need to improve on and not getting overcome by conditions."

Saban said that three players -- cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, nose tackle Brandon Ivory, and offensive tackle Arie Kouandjio -- who missed the scrimmage with minor injuries had returned to the practice field. "This week the focus is on improvement the things we need to improve on as a team. We'll also look at some things that our first four opponents do that's a little bit different. We'll probably start working on Kent State on Friday.

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