Saban Sees Bama Showing Improvement

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said that his Crimson Tide football team showed improvement in its second scrimmage of the spring. But he said following the Saturday work at Bryant-Denny Stadium that "We're not where we need to be," and that emphasis in the final five practices would be on improvement.

Alabama will return to Bryant-Denny Stadium in a week for its spring game. The A-Day game will kick off at 2 p.m. CDT Saturday, April 12. The Tide has practices Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week before the Crimson-White game, then is scheduled to finish spring training with a final session Monday, April 14.

Saban said the team covered more situations in its Saturday workout. He has said a scrimmage consists of "move the ball," which is the image most have of an offense going against a defense in relative simulation of a game. Beyond that there is situational work, such as goalline, third down, two-minute, etc.

Saban had been disappointed with the offense following the first scrimmage a week ago. Following Saturday's scrimmage he said there was "significant improvement in execution."

Among areas the coach cited as better on offense were the running game and passing game, catching the ball better, better pass blocking and better accuracy in passing. He said those areas that improve passing efficiency are critical to offensive success. He also cited the offense having fewer turnovers than a week earlier as a positive. Saban said the Ones (first team offense and defense) had better execution this week and that there was "good hitting" in the scrimmage.

The coach said he did not think there had been significant injuries in the scrimmage.

Saban said the emphasis is on having as many players as possible show "the ability to sustain to do the job." He said there was not enough of that in the first scrimmage. "It was better today, but some couldn't and that affects the ability of the unit to be effective." He said players must "focus and concentrate" on their jobs and that more leaders have to be developed.

"I saw some of that today," Saban said. "I'm pleased with the progress. "

He added, "I'm not pleased with where we are. We want to improve."

Saban said in the final days of practice that players must "improve individually so we can improve collectively. We have to get more players playing winning football so we can have more depth."

The final practices will include work "on things we're going to see next year," things that typically Alabama doesn't do. He said those potential schemes of opponents are taught and that teaching will go to the practice field.

Saban also had a message for players on his team regarding dependability. The bottom line is that players who don't do their jobs would not be counted on. He said that went beyond on-the-field work – to academics, behavior, dependability. In short, he said, character.

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