Saban Wants Tide Looking Ahead

Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban isn't so concerned about his team's intensity this week, although he expects all business on the practice field. He wants his players to remember the things that have led to success and improve in those areas where the Crimson Tide can be better.

Alabama is in a bye week, meaning no game this Saturday. The Crimson Tide is coming off a 17-14 win over Kentucky that ran the Bama record to 6-0, including a 3-0 mark in Southeastern Conference games. Alabama is ranked second in the nation.

Next week, October 18, the Crimson Tide will host Ole Miss, which is also idle this week. The Rebels are under a new head coach, but a veteran of SEC coaching. Houston Nutt moved to Mississippi after a successful career at Arkansas. The Rebels are 3-3 overall and 1-2 in SEC play. Ole Miss has the biggest upset in the SEC this year, a win over Florida in Gainesville two weeks ago. The Rebs lost to South Carolina Saturday.

This week the Crimson Tide players will practice Tuesday-Thursday and have strength and conditioning work before getting a long weekend off. The Tide was also off Sunday and Monday following the win over Kentucky.

A handful of assistant coaches were recruiting Monday and more were to be on the road Friday. As head coach, Nick Saban is not allowed to recruit off campus at this time of year. He had some speaking engagements and was looking at tapes of future opponents, he said.

Saban said he is "pleased and proud" of where his team is midway through the season. He praised players for having played tough and "fairly consistently," and for having overcome adversity. Even though the Kentucky game was not as impressive as some have been, Saban said the team "came out ready to play." In the first half Alabama had out-gained the Wildcats 263 yards to 60 yards, but had only a 14-0 lead owing to some missed opportunities, including a fumble inside Kentucky's five-yard line and a missed field goal.

"We gave the other team an opportunity to stay in the game," Saban said. "We played physical and won the line of scrimmage, which was the difference in the game.

"The lesson to be learned is that we should not be dodging bullets. We need to be firing bullets."

Saban said that players should have learned that "intensity fuels our success. That is something we need to maintain in practice and preparation and improving over this bye week.

"We don't need to be looking in the rear view mirror. We need to be looking ahead. Part of that is getting some rest this week and part of it is improving in areas where we have not been consistent. That is something we will focus on in these three days of practice."

He said there would be "quality control" work by the staff to see where there could be improvement, including areas where the team has not been consistent, personnel, etc.

Saban said there would be practice towards making that improvement and also work on things that the team has not faced, but might see in the next five games.

Saban said, "We need to be aggressive and systematically prepare to play the best football we can play. And if we do, we should play the best football of the season in the weeks ahead."

Saban pointed out that there have been six games prior to this open week and there would be five games before the next bye, which comes before the final regular season game against Auburn.

He said there are no significant injuries, but pointed out that some players may get extra rest in practices this week.

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