Bye Week Looks To Have Helped Tide Injured

There are several advantages to having an open date during a football season. There may also be the disadvantage to a team that is rocking along undefeated and having a break in its routine.

As good an authority as Alabama Coach Nick Saban, whose team just finished an open date with a 4-0 record and ranked as high as number one in the nation, said Monday he didn’t know if it was an advantage or a disadvantage.

“I know that the focus for us was on improvement as a team, to try to make corrections,” he said. The Saban philosophy is that as the individuals improve their units improve and the team improves.

“In a lot of cases we got that done,” Saban said. “In some cases, maybe we didn't.”

There are other areas where a bye week can come in handy. For instance, Alabama is playing Ole Miss in Oxford Saturday. The Rebels had a game last weekend, a 24-3 win over Memphis. The Crimson Tide got to work on the Mississippi game plan a couple of days last week.

And then there is the advantage for injured players.

Saban said, “It also was an opportunity to try to get players that have injury issues healed up a little bit, and I think from that standpoint we probably were successful.”

Crimson Tide players who have been handicapped by injuries include cornerback Eddie Jackson, safety/star Jarrick Williams, offensive lineman Dominick Jackson, wide receiver DeAndrew White, and quarterback Blake Sims.

Saban said, “I think Dee White will be the only guy that is limited in practice today. We would be day to day with him, and hopefully he'll be able to practice some more at the end of the week and maybe able to play some role in this game.

“Blake (who suffered a shoulder bruise in Bama’s last game, a 42-21 win over Florida) was able to throw the ball at the end of the week last week. We had him on kind of a pitch count. He feels a lot better now, so we feel like's okay and will be ready to practice and be ready to go.

“We worked Eddie Jackson quite a bit last week. I think he's getting there. We're certainly going to give him more opportunities in practice this week and see where that goes. Tony Brown played pretty well in the game, so those two guys will probably compete through the course of the week and we'll see how it ends up later in the week based on how they perform and how they're able to perform relative to their physical circumstances.”

Saban said both Jarrick Williams and Dominick Jackson “are coming along and I think physically able to do what we need them to do. But when guys miss a significant amount of time at practice, just because they’re healthy doesn’t mean that they’re immediately ready to play. So they have to go through a little bit of a developmental phase from a technique standpoint to get back on track so they can execute the way they need to to play winning football. That’s what we’re trying to get those guys to be able to work through.”

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