Alabama Begins Preparing For Season-Opener

An adage of football is that there are two kinds of luck that help determine the outcome of a season. One is schedule luck – where games fall, how good or bad those opponents turn out to be. The other is injury luck. So far Alabama has avoided bad injuries. In just over a week Bama will begin to find out how tough the schedule is.

Following Alabama’s Thursday practice, Coach Nick Saban said that it had been a good week of preparation. He also pointed out that the Crimson Tide would move into a new phase this week as Bama begins game-planning for its season-opener against Wisconsin.

Saban also said that the Crimson Tide continues to have good injury luck with two of the three men who suffered injuries in last Saturday’s scrimmage back on the field and the third due back next week.

In the past, Saban has pointed out that he doesn’t want his football team spending too much time on an upcoming opponent because that preparation can become stale. As a result, when there is an opening game or an open date or a bowl game in which there is extra time for such work, usually only a day or two extra is put on the game plan.

Those extra days begin today for Bama’s game against Wisconsin on Sept. 5 at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Saban said it’s not just about the extra on-the-field time, either. He said the players will be given instruction “not only how to practice for the game…but the things they need to do on their own,” and he mentioned videotape study and knowing the game plan.

The players, he said, should know “that coming here for a one-hour meeting and a two-hour practice may not be quite enough to really understand what the other team is trying to do to you and what your job is and how you have to respond to it.”

Saban said that Alabama players have recovered well from some injuries suffered in last Saturday’s scrimmage. He said that No. 1 offensive right tackle Dominick Jackson, who suffered a shoulder injury, was back at practice, and that cornerback Bradley Sylve “has practiced every day. He did have a pin put in his hand. He is in a cast, but they think in a week they can take the cast off. He has been able to practice and it has not been a problem.” Backup offensive tackle Korren Kirven has not yet returned to practice after suffering a knee injury, but is expected back next week, Saban said.

Saban said that Thursday’s practice was “really good. It was spirited and we tried to make a lot of game-like situations out there.

“One of the goals for practice this week is take three early opponents and take a little bit of time on them each day and then about half the practice to work on fundamental improvements for our team and evaluate the players we have. Starting Friday, we'll have to pretty much decide who are we going to coach, who are we going to invest our time in, whether it's special teams or figure out if a guy can make enough of a contribution, develop enough, to be able to contribute to the team.

“The guys worked hard today. I was really pleased with that. The big focus was on finishing plays. I think players get tired of practicing against each other when you've been in camp for 20-something practices, so they get a little bored.

“But the whole key to the drill is once they think they know how to do it right, they think they can get casual and not pay attention to details and practice things the way they need to. But the whole idea is I want to practice it until I can't do it wrong. That means you're going to go out there every day and focus on doing it exactly right so you can do it over and over and over and it's going to be a part of who you are and what you do. And those habits will carry over in the game. That's something that we've really tried to emphasize with our players this week.”

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