Once Again, Saban Not Satisfied
Following the exhibition, Alabama Coach Nick Saban was asked if the team had answered any questions.
He said, "The biggest thing I was concerned about was how the team would go out there and what would be their energy, their enthusiasm, and their attention to detail. So, mental intensity. I don't think that there were enough guys that answered that question in a positive way to my liking.
"But I'm never satisfied. I spoke to a bunch of alumni groups today, and they all want me to make a comparison between this year's team and last year's team and the team before that, and the team before that, and the team before that. And I wasn't happy with any of those teams at this point.
"If I was happy with them, we wouldn't have summer conditioning, we would not have fall camp, and we wouldn't have thirty practices to get ready for our first game against Virginia Tech. We'd just pack it in and say, ‘All right, let's go to Atlanta and play the game.'
"We're not there yet. That's why we have all these practices, that's why we have all the work we need to do. I'm not disappointed where we are right now. I don't want anyone to think that. But I'm not satisfied with where we are either. But we have a high standard at what we want to do, and we need to realize that every team that we play is going to bring their A game, and that that game is circled on their calendar as to what they want to do when they come play Alabama."
Speaking specifically to the A-Day Game, Saban said in some ways it was not as good as previous spring scrimmages had been. "The first two scrimmages we didn't have a lot of penalties, we didn't have a lot of sloppy play," he said. "There was obviously a lot of good things out there in terms of execution, some of the players making big plays. Obviously when you play against each other, when one team gets a lot of turnovers -- makes interceptions, gets fumbles -- that's a good thing. But the other part of it is when you turn it over and you're playing against yourself, that's not such a good thing. That was something that hasn't happened really all spring.
"That's not a true indication of what's important in terms of us being able to play winning football.
"There were a lot of undisciplined penalties, which we haven't had a lot of during the spring. Some of it's organizational, trying to play a lot of players.
"That was our goal today in the third quarter was to get everybody an opportunity to play a few plays, that they've been here all spring and all winter with us, to give them an opportunity to play.
"I really do feel like we have a lot of the components to develop as a team. I don't think we are where we need to be. Too many people too comfortable with their position. That, to me, does not lend itself to great competition or being a great competitor.
"If you look at last season, or next season, five or six plays in a season are probably going to determine the outcome of the season. Whether it's two-minute at the end of the season, stopping Georgia at the 8-yard line, scoring a touchdown to get ahead in that game. Whatever you want to talk about, some play that happened in the Notre Dame game that was a game-defining play that changed the whole outcome of the game. Not scoring on fourth-and-2 at the 2 against Texas A&M.
"There's always five or six plays during the season that are going to define how that season comes out, and you never know when those plays are going to come up. Your preparation, your ability to play with consistency, your ability to pay attention to detail, do the little things right. You don't inherit that. That's something you've got to earn. That's something you've got to believe in, that's something you've got to trust in. That's really what some of our players on our team need to learn how to do. We're trying to do this with a bunch of guys that have all relied on their physical ability. In other words, their skill. And they have been better than everybody else when they don't need to pay attention to detail. To get that done is easier said than done. Still, it's going to come down to our ability to make progress in that area, to become a disciplined team that has the mental and physical toughness to dominate the competition every play in the game for 60 minutes in the game.
"It's very simple.
"It's about people buying in, people making a commitment to it, about the leadership, demanding the standard every day.
"We've made progress this spring. But it's a work in progress and we have to continue to make that progress throughout the summer and fall camp if we want to be the kind of team we're capable of."
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