Saban Says Bama Should Be Healthy

In his regular Monday press briefing, Alabama Coach Nick Saban touched briefly on injuries, the Duron Carter situation, the return of Darius Hanks, and the progress of a couple of freshmen.

Here are some quick notes from Alabama Coach Nick Saban Monday:

Alabama continues to be in above average physical shape as the Crimson Tide has completed three games with a 3-0 record and ranked second in the nation. This week Bama is preparing for its first Southeastern Conference game, hosting Arkansas at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Razorbacks are also 3-0 and nationally ranked. CBS will televise the game.

Saban said as the Tide prepared for Monday's practice that "We've got a couple of guys that may be a little slow or limited in practice today."

He noted that starting safety Robert Lester, who went out of Saturday's 41-0 win over North Texas with back spasms, would be slowed in Monday's work. He said that Dee Milliner was ill and might be kept "away from everybody else" on Monday. He expected "a couple of guys that are probably limited."

But, he added, "We expect everybody to be full strength and ready to go tomorrow."

The regular question asking for an update on Duron Carter brought less than enlightenment. Carter, the former Ohio State wide receiver who finished junior college work and signed with Alabama this summer, continues to be enrolled at The University and taking part in practice, but as of last week, at least, not able to participate in games.

Saban said, "At this point we have not received the information that we need to receive, and unless something happens that we do receive it, I don't know if there is another option for us at this point, but there could be."

Senior wide receiver Darius Hanks had to miss the first two games of the season, retribution for his redshirt season when he played briefly in 2007. He had two receptions for 20 yards in the North Texas game.

Saban said Hanks is a positive influence on Tide players because of "his blocking, his experience doing the right things." The coach said that Hanks was open a couple of times when Bama didn't get the ball to him.

"I think his knowledge, experience and confidence really is helpful to the entire group," Saban said.

He also mentioned true freshman wide receiver Christion Jones as "a guy who has progressed since the beginning of camp and we want to continue to use him and hope he continues to develop. He does have speed. He is good with the ball in his hand and we obviously need to continue to improve."

He added, "I've been pleased with Kenny Bell's improvement and DeAndrew White got a little better each game. So as a group, I think we're making progress."

The Tide coach was asked about the progress of true freshman left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. "Cyrus is really doing a good job for us," Saban said. "He has certainly made a tremendous amount of progress and improvement. I don't think there's a lot of doubt that he is athletic and is going to be a very, very good player at that position. We just want to continue to enhance his development so that he feels comfortable and confident in knowing what he is supposed to do so he can play without apprehension and be sure about what he is supposed to do.

"Because the closer you play to the ball, the faster stuff happens. So if you're a little bit, ‘I'm not sure whether I should step this way and block this guy or I should block that guy,' you got no chance. It doesn't make any difference how athletic you are. He did much better in this game than the first game. We'll just keep developing him and helping him improve. We have every confidence in him that if he has to play he will play well."

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