Saban Shows Kindness To Beat Writers

Being a football coach is like being a woman. You know: Man may work from sun to sun, but woman's work is never done. Thus it is with a football coach. He's on the job from very, very early until very, very late and works seven days a week much of the year.

No one would suggest that sportswriters work like coaches. But it's the nature of sportswriting that much of the work is done on weekends and at night. A coach's job is not finished for the day when practice ends. But neither is that of the scribe.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban meets with sportswriters on a comparatively infrequent basis, but his press briefings are regular and forthcoming. This week, Alabama's first week of preparation for the Independence Bowl, Saban met with reporters on Monday. The Crimson Tide had resumed practice on Sunday, then had one practice Monday morning, another Monday evening after the Saban press conference.

His next briefing was scheduled for Friday afternoon. Alabama's beat reporters, who for the most part do not live in Tuscaloosa, wondered if perhaps the Saban briefing might be moved up a day, to Thursday afternoon. That would allow those journalists the opportunity to go home a day sooner.

In the spirit of the season, Saban complied. For those in places like Miami and Bristol, Connecticut, let the record show that Nick Saban was accommodating to the media.

Alabama's football team worked for two hours Thursday afternoon as preparations continue for its December 30 Independence Bowl game with Colorado.

The Crimson Tide worked in full pads and conducted the equivalent of a normal Tuesday practice, which Saban said is when the team works hardest on the plan for the upcoming opponent. Situation work includes regular first-and-10, second and long, goal line and short-yardage.

The Tide began the week with four preseason camp-type practices before beginning to install the game plan for Colorado on Wednesday, which was the equivalent of a Monday practice.

"Practice is going well," Saban said. "We started yesterday like it was a Monday after we had four fundamental-type, camp-like practices, kind of like starting all over. Today was like a Tuesday practice which is full bore on what the other team and what they like to do."

Saban emphasized the importance of this week's practice and said that Colorado was a very hard team to prepare for. He said, "They are very athletic up front on defense. They do a really good job in terms of how they defend people. Offensively, they are by far, the most multiples we have seen all year long, in terms of formations, adjustments, personnel groups and types of gadget plays.

"So, this is definitely, and it seems like when you start getting a feel for one of their games, they do something a little bit different and they have a little bit different wrinkle for every game that they have played. Many times this year that has caught the other team off guard. That is probably good on their part and it is certainly good, relative to the coaching staff and what they do with their players and how their players go out and execute that all the time. It's going to be a real key for us to be able to adjust."

Saban also noted that sophomore return specialist Javier Arenas has been practicing this week and the coach is hopeful he will return to action against the Buffaloes. Arenas suffered a high ankle sprain against Louisiana-Monroe and missed the Auburn game. Saban also said that sophomore Justin Woodall suffered a shoulder injury in Thursday's practice but the injury was not serious.

Alabama will practice Friday and Saturday, then have a short break. The team will reassemble in Shreveport on Christmas and have a workout that evening. It is Alabama's only opportunity for a practice under the lights at Independence Bowl Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. CST on Sunday, December 30. ESPN will televise the game.

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