Preparation Will Pause For Thanksgiving

Alabama preparation for its Saturday football game at Auburn can't really stop for Thanksgiving, but it can pause a bit. Crimson Tide players who live within two hours of campus will have the opportunity to go home. Those who remain will have Thanksgiving with a coach and the coach's family.

"Thanksgiving is an important time," Alabama Coach Nick Saban said Monday. "It's an important time for family. It's an important time for everyone t give thanks, and to realize all they have to be thankful for.

"I think it's just one of those things that probably a little bit more important than a football game.

"I think in some kind of way, as a coach, you have to give your players an opportunity to do that.

"We let our guys go home that live in a two hour radius, and all the guys that stay come to some of our homes for Thanksgiving. So it's a time for family and it's time for being around people that you care about. That's what we try to do for our players."

There is likely no other day in which there is such an emphasis on food. Saban was asked about concerns with players over-doing it.

"We have a team nutritionist who is probably saying that every week to probably several of our guys," Saban said. "They have to have enough discipline to know that they've got a game coming, that this means something to them. They have to make good choices and decisions about what they do."

He said that several years ago Bama defensive tackle Terrence Cody spent Thanksgiving with the Saban family.

Mount Cody, as he was called, was 6-5 and probably weighed in the 350 range most of his Crimson Tide career.

Saban said, "He just sat and stared at the coconut cream pie. I said, 'You know you can have a piece, it's Thanksgiving.' He said, ‘No coach, no coach, I'm not going to do it. I'm staying on my diet.'

"I don't know what happened when I left the room, but he was at least good when I was watching him."

On a serious note, Saban was asked what he is thankful for this Thanksgiving. On what he is the most thankful for this Thanksgiving:

"I think that there is so much you have to be thankful for," he said. "This day, my family, wonderful wife and children, the opportunity to be at The University of Alabama, around the players that we have, the people that we have and the program. There's so much so to be thankful for – it's almost hard to just put a finger on any particular thing.

"But I'm thankful that I'm in a position to serve other people, to have an opportunity to do something that makes a difference for somebody else, regardless of what the circumstances are. We tried to do that relative to what happened in our community with the tornado and we will try to continue to do that wherever we can, when people are affected by things like that. So I guess I'm thankful to be in the position to be able to do that."

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