Alabama Has No Hope

Alabama Coach Nick Saban has a reason for everything he says, and following Alabama's practice Wednesday there was the suspicion that he was still speaking to his players as he addressed the media. Saban almost always says he is not disappointed, but that doesn't translate to "satisfied."

"We were pleased to get the first game under our belt," Alabama Coach Nick Saban said of last Saturday's 52-6 win over Western Carolina. "We got a lot of kinks out. I was pleased with the way the players competed in the game and the physical toughness that they played with, trying to set a tempo and an attitude of how we want to play. Now the challenge is going to be can we do that on a consistent basis?"

Saban said, "We are trying to get everybody zeroed in and focused on what we do every day and their conviction to get better and do it right all week; knowing that if you do it right all week it is going to help you have the confidence that you are going to do it right in the game and focus on what you need to do to execute to play winning football. That is why you practice."

He pointed out the difference between enduring practice and in being focused on using meetings and practice time to focus and gain consistency. He said players must be good teammates who carry out their assignments, thus not letting down their teammates and giving the team the best chance to be successful.

He said, "It's not about hoping to get it right. It's about working to get it right."

Alabama will play at Vanderbilt Saturday with kickoff on Dudley Field in Vanderbilt Stadium shortly after 11:30 a.m. CDT. Lincoln Financial will televise the game. The game will not be made available on ESPN GamePlan in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina or Tennessee.

The Tide coach said Vanderbilt has a good team with good players that puts up big numbers on offense and executes without many mistakes on defense. "We need to be doing a great job of preparing," Saban said.

Saban said that Vanderbilt's outstanding offensive tandem of quarterback Chris Nickson and wide receiver Earl Bennett were as important to their team as any he had seen in college football in a long time. Saban pointed out that Bennett is difficult to defend because he plays at every wide receiver position and at running back. And Nickson is tough because he is a very good runner in addition to being a fine passer. Use enough defenders to cover one and you are short on covering the other, Saban said.

Saban said that Alabama's offense against Vanderbilt would be based on what is expected from the Commodores' defense. "We do what we do," Saban said. "We have an offense. We do things. We do different things against different teams."

He added that "it comes down to execution." He said that execution had been good in Alabama's win over Western Carolina last week, but that it would be more challenging to execute that well against Vanderbilt.

"We may have to do a few more things," he said.

On the injury front, Saban said that placekicker Jamie Christensen seemed to be getting closer to being able to play. "He is doing a little kicking," the coach said. But he said offensive tackle Cody Davis would not be able to resume work until he reached certain strength levels in his rehabilitation.

He added that there had been no new injuries.

*Alabama practiced for two hours in full gear. The Crimson Tide worked on red zone, third down situations and reviewed its work from Monday and Tuesday's sessions.

*Alabama's weekly call-in show, "Hey, Coach!", hosted by Tom Roberts, will air from 6:30-7 p.m. (CDT) Thursday night from Bob Baumhower's Wing's Sports Grille in Tuscaloosa and will be immediately followed by the "Nick Saban Show," from 7-8 p.m. (CT) live.

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