The players didn't practice Sunday or Monday and will get to relax a little bit this coming weekend—and maybe kick back and watch SEC foes Florida and LSU, and South Carolina and Georgia square off in their respective games—but there's no rest for their weary coaches during the bye week.
Not when you're coaching the No. 1 team in the nation, that is.
"There's a lot of catching up to do," said head coach Nick Saban. "For us to practice on the teams we're playing down the road, we have to spend time preparing for that, too. Whatever team it is that we're trying to prepare for that particular day—we worked on two different teams today—so you have to spend a significant amount of time trying to get ready for that, too, which I think really adds interest for the players in practice because they're doing something different.
"So nothing really much is different."
Starting with a trip to Columbia to face Missouri on Oct. 13, the Tide really hit the meat of their SEC schedule with a trip the following weekend to Tennessee, then come home for a week to play Mississippi State, and then it's time to hit the road to Baton Rouge for the much anticipated showdown with LSU.
With starting wide receiver DeAndrew White and running back Dee Hart both out for the season with knee injuries, Saban said opportunities will open up for some younger players on offense and special teams.
However, Saban said he "had a fit" during Tuesday's special teams meeting because of constant mistakes made by the youngsters.
"We're coaching one thing and they're doing something else," he said. "Downstairs on the board it says you have to have faith, trust and confidence in the principles of the guys in the organization, what you're being taught to do and how you do it.
"Well, they obviously don't have it because we teach it everyday, we work on it everyday. Then you get in the game and they go rat trap."
Rat trap? Linebacker Nico Johnson translated.
"You do the right things in practice, and when you get in the game, you think about all the wrong things," he said. "You forget your assignment. If I'm supposed to do this on this assignment but I don't, that's what he means by ‘rat trap.' Just not doing your assignments and forgetting what you're supposed to do."
Johnson said that often happens to younger players due to inexperience and nerves.
Hart had recently provided an extra spark on special teams in punt return game. But now that he's out, does that job fall back on Christion Jones, who had been No. 1 in that spot to start the season?
"Right now we don't know who is going to be doing the punt returns," Jones said. "We're just now going to look at some guys. Dee Hart did a great job coming in and returning balls. That was his first start at it."
In two games, Hart had returned four punts for 50 yards.
As far as replacing Hart at running back, Saban was asked if Brent Calloway, a back turned linebacker, had practiced at his old position.
Saban simply replied, "No."
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