It was notable in the first Alabama scrimmage last Saturday that Coach Nick Saban was not happy with tackling by the defense. Asked what he expected from the defense Saturday, he said, "Execution, more guys playing winning football, a little bit more intensity, being more aggressive, tackling better. I don't think you can tackle if you're not intense. If you don't have mental intensity, you don't have toughness, either. So we're looking for more of that."
He said, "What's your trademark. What are you trying to sell? You trying to be tough, relentless, run to the ball, play with a lot of effort and enthusiasm? That's what we're looking for. We'd like to make less mistakes, we'd like to tackle better, we'd like to be more physical. We need to get more turnovers. We've got a lot of things we're working on we've got to get better at."
Alabama will practice Friday afternoon at the Thomas Field practice facility, The Tide holds its second scrimmage of the preseason Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. All practices, including Saturday's scrimmage, are closed to the public.
Saban said following Thursday's practice that "This scrimmage -- the way the tone of practice is this week -- there's a lot more situations, there's a lot more ‘move the field,' there's a lot more coaches off the field, there's a lot more two-minute, there's a lot more ‘Let the players play.'
"So this scrimmage we'll try to make at least a portion of it a lot more game-like for everyone in the organization. For the guy calling the plays, the guy calling the defenses, the quarterbacks getting the signals, the signal-callers on defense getting the calls.
"The whole thing will be a little more game-like. because that's the next step in the progression of trying to get the team game-ready."
He added there are players the staff will want to look at more "because we need to work on some development and maybe some key positions relative to depth or injuries."
Saban said, "I don't think I will ever be satisfied with where we are, but that's not to say I am disappointed at all with where we are and the progress that we have made. This has been a tough camp. The players have responded to it in a very positive way.
"They have worked extremely hard and it has been difficult, and part of it is because of circumstance, not because we created it. We want to continue to work through it. There is nothing we can do about it. It is an opportunity to overcome adversity for us and we cannot let those external factors affect how we perform. I'm not saying that we have gotten to that point yet. We need to continue to make progress in that area as well."
Alabama opens the 2007 season Saturday, September 1, against Western Carolina in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be televised by the Crimson Tide Sports Network on a pay-per-view basis beginning at 6:07 p.m. CDT.