Alabama Coach Nick Saban was able to put his sarcastic – dare we say rapier? -- sense of humor to work in conversation with reporters Wednesday. Not once, but twice.
Saban did not appear to be in a bad mood following Wednesday’s practice. He began, “We had a better day today of practice. A little better energy, a little better enthusiasm. You like to build it through the week.
“We went inside today because it's unusually warm for this time of year. It's supposed to be a little cooler on Saturday. I think the constant being out there in this kind of weather can wear guys down a little bit and we certainly don't want that to happen, especially with this game coming up.
"It seems like it's been a long time since we've played at home, but we're certainly looking forward to it. This is a great challenge for any player. I think playing in these kind of games are one of the reasons a lot of guys come here. Great competition, great atmosphere. Great fans. It's going to be a great team we're playing against.”
No. 1 ranked Alabama (7-0 overall, 4-0 in the Southeastern Conference) hosts sixth-ranked Texas A&M (6-0, 4-0) in Bryant-Denny Stadium at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday, CBS televising.
"I don't really have anything different on injuries,” Saban added. “Nothing new to report."
One of his early questions was benign: What have you seen from Bo Scarbrough lately? How important was that last performance (5 carries for 109 yards including an 85-yard touchdown run in Alabama’s 49-10 win over Tennessee) for his momentum?
Saban said, "I think Bo has gotten better and better every week. I think he's playing with more and more confidence. Probably has a little better understanding of what's expected of him, and he's made some really good plays. I think that probably contributes to him feeling pretty good about his progress he's making, the role he has and what he can contribute to the team. We're happy with his development. We certainly need him. He's got a lot of ability and hopefully he'll continue to progress and play well for us."
A follow-up question brought up Scarbrough’s actions at the end of his touchdown run, when he had “and interaction with a fan.” Saban was asked if he had talked to Scarbrough about the incident.
"I did talk to him,” Saban said. “I talked to the whole team about it.
“I don't know what category you would put the conversation in, whether it was 'talking to' or -- we've talked about these elements of 'ass chewings' before. So I don't know where you would categorize that one.
But look, that's a young kid that needs people to look up to in the world. Needs sports figures that he can sort of have some admiration for the way they carry themselves, the example they set, the things that they do.
“That was not an action that actually contributed to that in any way and it's not how we want our players to represent themselves, their family or the program."
Later Saban was asked about Texas A&M having so many tall receivers – Ricky Seals-Jones at 6-5, Josh Reynolds at 6-4, Edward Pope 6-4, Damion Ratley at 6-3 among them – and if there are things that can be done “scheme-wise to protect against that?”
"What do you recommend?” Saban asked. “Do we take get-taller pills?
“I mean, I don't understand what we can do. You always want guys to play the ball at the highest point. You're always emphasizing that. They do have big receivers and they're very talented guys.