Alabama Emphasis On Fundamentals

On Tuesday, Alabama had the first of five practices that got the bowl game process started. It was to step up a notch Wednesday as the Crimson Tide is scheduled to be in full gear after a Tuesday practice in shells (helmets, shoulder pads.

Alabama, 12-1 and ranked second in the nation, will play top-ranked Notre Dame (12-0) in the BCS National Championship Game at Miami Gardens, Fla., on January 7. The Irish had the first of 13 scheduled practices on Monday. Bama will have a total of 15 practices.

Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban said "It was a good first day back. It's good to get started again."

Alabama last played on Dec. 1when the Tide defeated Georgia, 32-28, to win the Southeastern Conference championship. Since then, Saban said, players worked around final examinations to take care of conditioning "and simulated training and agility drills."

The Tide will work through Saturday and then get a short break for Christmas, Saban said the first five days will focus on "fundamentals, conditioning, basic things that we need to do to try to play good football. When we've had a couple of weeks off, you really want to go back and almost reinstall the basics of things we need to do. The things in games like this that are important is tackling, block protection, doing a good job of blocking, being physical, getting your conditioning level back to where it needs to be so that you can sustain. Ball security is always something that we want to have a lot of focus on.

"This is a really important time, these five practices before Christmas. Everything under the sun has a price. We need to pay the price right now to play our best football in the game coming up."

As preparation continues for the Notre Dame game, Saban said Bama will work on things it has done well "to get back to doing those things well." He said another point of emphasis is that there has also been "a lot of work on the quality control of things that we need to improve on from the season."

Finally, he said, "We'll also be doing some of the things that we need to do to adapt to what we're going to play against and try to emphasize those things."

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