Saban will take his Crimson Tide team against the Badgers in the season-opening game at 7 p.m. CDT Saturday in the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas. ABC will televise the game.
Saban was complimentary of Wisconsin. He said, “This is a really good team and it's going to be a challenge for our team to go out and play the kind of football that we're capable of playing for 60 minutes in the game to have a chance to be successful.
“I've been pleased with the way our players have approached this.”
Bama began putting in its game plan Friday, and Saban certainly is familiar with Wisconsin players, but has also had to develop something of a scouting report on the Badgers coach, who was head coach at Pittsburgh before returning to his alma mater at the end of last season.
Saban said, “I thought he did a fabulous job at Pittsburgh. He's a very good offensive coach and did a great job at Wisconsin when he was there before (as offensive coordinator 2005-11).
“This team has obviously been a very, very strong running team but I think Paul has always been a guy that has been able to create balance with what he does and has a lot of pro background and is a very good developer of quarterbacks. I think that his touch will be something that we definitely will see in terms of what he does with Wisconsin's offense.
“For us offensively it’s a little easier because they have the same coordinator at Wisconsin so we’re assuming that he’ll do a lot of the same things as the defensive coordinator. A lot of that was sort of that way in the (Wisconsin) spring game.”
Saban explained, “When it comes to what they would do on offense, our defense in preparation we kind of looked at both [Wisconsin and Pitt tape], but (Paul has always been sort of that background, of Wisconsin-type run the ball, but also has pro (-style) background in terms of what they did at Pitt, where they were a little more balanced. So we’re sort of doing both when it comes to that. But I think that they’ll probably reflect his philosophy, which is old Wisconsin plus what they did that was a little different at Pitt.”
The Tide coach said, “This is obviously a very, very good team that we're playing. They won 11 games last year and they've got a significant number of starters back --five or six on offense, five or six on defense.
“They have their quarterback back. [Joel Stave completed 110 of 206 passes for 1,350 yards and nine touchdowns with 10 interceptions.]
“A couple of offensive linemen. Good tight ends.
“A very, very good defensive team. One of the top defensive teams in the country. They're very well coached. They do a really, really good job of executing and playing together on defense and play with a tremendous amount of toughness and really, really play with a lot of energy and effort.
“They’ve got their specialists back (punter Drew Meyer, who averaged 37.4 yards per punt and placekicker Rafael Gaglianone, who was 19-22 on field goals – including 5-7 over 40 yards, 2-3 50 yards or longer with a long of 51).
“We're going to have to do a really good job against them.”