Players Have Much To Learn

When Bobby Greenwood met with Alabama football beat reporters following a practice last week he was carrying his playbook, a notebook binder about five inches thick. Greenwood was back among the sportswriters following Wednesday's practice, but didn't have the book with him.

"It gets thicker and thicker every day," said Alabama junior defensive end Bobby Greenwood. "I about need a book bag to carry it."

"There are a lot of different things and we're still trying to get the hang of it," Greenwood said. "We've come a long way, but every day there's something new. We'll think we have it down pat, and the next day there's a lot more and we're back in that book."

Greenwood said that he and his defensive line buddies have been making time for study sessions on the playbook. "When we first got started, we'd get together to go over it each night."

Like for half an hour, it was asked. "More like an hour, probably," Greenwood said.

He said that even though he's a defensive end, "I have to know the assignments of everyone on the line."

Alabama Coach Nick Saban agrees that Crimson Tide players are getting a lot of information in the spring. "Its all relative to what you're used to," he said. "We're not doing anything more here than what we've done with other college players.

"Part of it is what is your capacity to be able to understand football, to be football smart, and to be able to go out and apply it and recognize it and see the right stuff. We give them a lot of information.

"That's how I've always done it. It's whole-part-whole. It's throw it on the wall and see what sticks. What doesn't stick you throw it on the wall again, and get some more to stick. Just keep doing it until it's all up there, rather than taking one thing and trying to do it and keep it simple. I know there are some flaws in it, but I don't want to say keep it simple because the players can't learn it. I want to try to teach them, and demand that they learn it. If they can't then we won't do it.

"But I think you need to challenge everyone. You get lazy mentally when you're not challenged to learn. We challenge them to learn. And when they don't do it right, we let them know. My motto is, ‘If you aren't coaching it, you're letting it happen.' We don't want to let it happen. If it's wrong, we want to correct it.

"Sometimes it's a little more intense and vigorous than some might think is appropriate. But I think they all understand we're just trying to make them better. It's not personal. I love the players here and I love the attitude they have and what they are trying to do. And we're trying to help them do it. I know they want to do it. But sometimes you have to learn what you need to do, how you need to do it, why it's important to do it that way so you get where you want to be.

"You create habits. You don't just get them. Sometimes those habits get created over a pretty significant amount of time. It's a little hard to change some habits, too, but we're working on that, too."

"I'm a defensive lineman," Greenwood said. "I can't imagine what John Parker's playbook is like."

Quarterback John Parker Wilson provided the information. "It's big," he said, spreading his fingers and thumb. "But that's exciting. The more we have the better we can be."

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