Saban said he wanted to meet with the media this week because he envisioned being out of pocket for much of the next month recruiting. National Signing Day is February 7. Saban affirmed Thursday that he would honor verbal commitments made by The University to prospects who have maintained their commitment to Alabama, so long as the commitment remains mutual.
"It goes both ways," he said. "The analogy we use is that ‘If you're going to shop, we're going to shop,'" meaning that players who were verbally committed to Alabama but showing interest in, and perhaps visiting other schools, would not necessarily maintain that offer.
Coaches are not allowed to discus prospects they are recruiting by name, but they could discus prospects they have no intent to sign. So, theoretically, the withdrawal of a scholarship offer to a prospect could be made public.
Saban said he knew scholarship availability was relatively low at Alabama, but he did not give a set number of prospects he intended to sign, saying that there were members of the current team who had medical situations that needed assessing and other factors before a number is reached.
One risk of a medical lost is defensive end Zeke Knight. Knight suffered an undisclosed head injury early in the season and underwent testing to figure out what was wrong with him virtually the entire fall, according to the old staff.
Saban said he hadn't offered the offensive coordinator job to Jason Garrett, but didn't want to go into specifics about what contact might have been made in getting the position filled.
"I haven't offered the job to anyone at this time," he said. "We've talked to a lot of people about it. We're going to continue to do our due diligence and research on that. I'm not going to be willing to make a lot of specific comments about where we are in our search and what we're doing."
Saban discussed the current assistants on his staff, Lance Thompson, Kirby Smart, Kevin Steele, Joe Pendry and Todd Alles, at length, but their roles have yet to be defined. It is assumed that Steele will be the defensive coordinator and Alles role will be in an administrative capacity. Saban said he hired Alles from Ohio State in part because he wanted to get insight on what Ohio State does from an administrative/organizational perspective.
Saban met with his team yesterday and went over his expectations for them. He also informed the team that he and the coaching staff would be gone for much of the next month, but laid out his plans for them.
Spring practice will be held as late as possible, Saban said, but he did not have a date certain for any of the spring practices.