Spring Techniques Motivate Bama

A few weeks ago new Arkansas Football Coach Bret Bielema had some Alabama fans thinking John L. Smith was back leading the Razorbacks. Crimson Tide fans thought it was lunacy that Bielema expected to come into the Southeastern Conference and take over the top spot from the Crimson Tide.

It wasn't crazy talk to Alabama Coach Nick Saban. He understands (as should everyone) that the Crimson Tide is the team with the metaphorical target on its back. And all should also expect Bama opponents to be working to defeat Alabama.

"The challenge is that there are a lot of teams in our league that are hungry, a lot of teams in our league pointing at us," Saban said. Alabama doesn't have that same motivation.

To provide some motivation, Alabama has been doing some different things in spring practice this week, notably giving the defense a look at some schemes they will see from opponents next fall that are different than what they would get from going against Bama's offense. Saban said the technique "kind of motivates the players a little bit. When you're at this point in spring, you really need to loook for some theme or some purpose for the players to want to go out there and be motivated to get better."

"We need to have a purpose because we want to be good. We've got some things we can accomplish with this team, regardless of what's been accomplished in the past. I don't think we'll get caught in those traps of not staying motivated and focused."

So far, so good. Saban said that Bama has had "two really good days of work, Monday and Wednesday." The Tide had its 10th of 15 practice days Wednesday. There will be a workout Friday in conjunction with Alabama's spring coaching clinic, a second scrimmage of the spring Saturday, and two practices next week prior to the A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, April 20.

Saban said the first scrimmage of the spring, last Saturday, showed him "we certainly need to clean up the effort." He said a Crimson Tide trademark has been to finish – finish plays and finish games.

"That's something I didn't think we did as well in the scrimmage as we needed to."

He said that players did "a lot of good things, but we need to develop more consistency with the young players. This Saturday we hope to see a lot of improvement, more guys playing with consistency."

Saturday's scrimmage will be game-like, he said.

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