Football Practice Much About Teaching

The emphasis is on teaching on the Alabama football practice fields. To be sure there is the physical, but talk on Tuesday was much about the mental after the Crimson Tide had its first fall practice day in full gear. On Wednesday the team has its first two-a-day sessions.



Alabama Coach Nick Saban had the Crimson Tide football team out for a two-hour workout in hot weather Tuesday.

"Obviously today is the first day in pads," Saban said. "What we are concerned about is technically getting done what we need to do to become a better football team. To have the focus, intensity and the mental energy to give the kind of effort to stay focused on what you need to do to do your job."

Saban stressed that it will be a team effort, coaches and players, in upcoming practices.

"Everybody has to push and help everybody get through (the practices) and be able to this because we technically need to get better as a team," Saban said. "Especially with the young players on the team who are obviously a little bit overloaded with all they have learned in five practices. They need to continue to show that they can play with high energy, give a lot of effort, and play with toughness. They are going to make mental errors, and we expect that at this point, but they are the guys that can play football in a way we want for them to play."

Saban has explained before that coaches will give the players a lot to learn early, then go back over it. "We can kind of go back and start over again," he said. "As soon as the players have a chance to re-learn, re-emphasize things already learned, it will be interesting to see the second time around guys who have retained some stuff they've already learned and who can build on it and make improvement."

He said that wide receiver Chris Jackson had injured an ankle, but said he expected Jackson to return in a few days.

He also said that tailback Demetrius Goode had been interested in working at defensive back and is practicing there. "He's a work in progress trying to catch up with the other guys, but he's excited about learning and we're excited about teaching," Saban said.

In answer to questions, Saban said that defensive end Brandon Deaderick has shown maturity and improvement and that defensive back Ali Sharrief continues to improve.

He said that linebacker Cory Reamer could play either inside or outside linebacker, noting Reamer (a former defensive back) is a good pass defender. He said that Reamer is a smart player and has a good attitude about playing linebacker. He said a difficulty in learning the position is dealing with blockers coming from close proximity and different angles.

Saban said that freshmen wide receivers Burton Scott and Julio Jones "both make plays." He called them "fast and tough."

Saban also addressed Alabama's peer intervention program that takes place during fall camp and covers issues like drugs, alcohol, gambling, spiritual development and how to treat the opposite sex. The UA program brings in professional speakers who help build on the Crimson Tide's summer program conducted by Pacific Institute.

"Lisa LaMaster was here and did a seminar on media relations," Saban said. "Kevin Elko, who is a very good motivational speaker, did a nice job of talking with the guys about positive energy and attitude. Gene Washington did a great job with life after football and the FBI guys were here last night talking to the guys about gambling in athletics.

"So we have a lot of these things going on in camp. It is another indication of how we try and educate our guys to make good choices and decisions so they have a chance to be more successful by making the right choices and decisions in what they do and don't do."

Saban said that he and his wife and University President Dr. Robert Witt and Mrs. Witt were among those who flew to Paris, Texas, Monday night to pay respects to the family of Coach Gene Stallings following the death of their son, John Mark Stallings, who was buried Tuesday.

"It was good to see Coach (Stallings)," Saban said, "but those are tough circumstances. I don't know how anyone could have raised someone with a more positive impact than they did."

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