Nick Saban's View Of 2014 Alabama

Following his bird's eye view behind the offense of White 17, Crimson 13, Alabama Coach Nick Saban opened up to the media about the progress of his 2014 squad after 15 spring practices. "Nobody ever has a bad spring game," he began. "I think everybody needs to understand that in games like today, we really limit what we do on offense and defense, and we really don't feature players.

"That affects a guy like Blake Sims (who can make plays with his feet). Amari Cooper had a great spring and so did Christion Jones. We had three running backs that had great springs (in T.J. Yeldon, Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake)."

As always, Saban sees plenty of areas for Alabama to improve on. "I really didn't think the consistency on offense was what we'd like to see today. You've got to give the defense some credit. We're more athletic, we've got more depth, and we've got more guys that can rush.

"I think the challenge for our team is if you want to continue to have success on a consistent basis, everyone has to buy in to the process of the system of what we do. You can't start questioning it, you have to buy in to it, and you have to believe in it. Everyone has to be a team guy, everyone has to check their ego at the door, there can't be any of that ‘what about me' stuff going on, and everything has to start with I need to be the best player I can be for the team. Then, everyone has to ask themselves, I am blank? I am what? This is because everyone has to have a common belief in the things that have made us a good program here. I'm talking about things like toughness, hard work, giving effort, finishing plays, finishing games, and the vision of the standard that we have for the kind of relentless competitive teams that we want to have and have had in the past."

Saban said he also looks forward to the return of three players who missed the game because of injuries. He said, "Darren Lake and Eddie Jackson are guys that I think can contribute to our team (when they return from injuries). On offense, it'll be great to get DeAndrew White back."

Overall, Saban said, "I'm very encouraged by the team that we have and the attitude that we have on our team."

Asked about his defensive front Saban said, "I think the front seven has a lot of experienced players. D.J. Pettway and Jarren Reed have certainly added a lot of depth. A'Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen got a lot of experience last year as freshmen. (Linebackers) Trey DePriest, Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster all played well inside. Outside (linebackers) Denzel Devall, Dillon Lee and Xzavier Dixon had good springs, as did Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson."

Asked about special teams and specifically his struggling kicker, Saban noted that "Adam Griffith is a very talented guy. We'd like for him to be a little more consistent (after missing two field goals attempts and reportedly struggling in scrimmages). There will be competition in the fall. We recruited a guy who can punt and kick (J.K. Scott). Our goal is to be more consistent in that part of our kicking game. You've got to have special teams and you've got to have specialists."

True freshman Cameron Robinson started at left tackle for the first offense. Saban assessed his spring thusly: "I think Cam is going to be a work in progress. He blocked the wrong guy on a screen and the screen got intercepted and run in for a touchdown. We need him to learn from his mistakes. He did some good things, and he's done some good things all spring long He's a very good pass blocker. He still has a lot to learn. We're going to be patient in how he develops."

Though his top quarterback had a rough day, Saban said, "Blake Sims had a really good spring. He did a really good job in the scrimmages. The game sped up today and he tried to speed up with it rather than being in his rhythm. I do think there's a lot of things Blake can do to be an effective quarterback that we didn't do in today's game. We recruited a guy that's going to come in and compete (Jacob Coker). Blake knows this, and he embraced (Coker) before the game.

"We feel we have three really good guys at receiver and three really good guys at running back. They've got to get the ball, and the quarterback has got to be able to help them do that."

Asked about the group of cornerbacks he works with every day, Saban said, "At corner, we didn't give up a lot of big plays today, which is encouraging. Tony Brown is a guy that has a lot of ability. He's very fast, and very explosive. His shoulder issue will have to be fixed, but I don't think that will affect his ability to work over the summer. Bradley Sylve and Eddie Jackson (before his injury) both had good springs."

Finally, Saban addressed an area he is hoping to see improvement in from last year, leadership. "I've been encouraged by it, but the players need to understand the process never ends. If you don't stay after them, they get to doing things not exactly the way you want. With this group, they respond when you talk to them about it. Some guys are showing some leadership, and I think they care. You're trying to affect some guys for their benefit, and the players seem to be buying in."

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