Saban's Thoughts Are On Alabama

It was inevitable that Alabama Coach Nick Saban would get an LSU question following the Crimson Tide's 35-0 win over Arkansas State at homecoming Saturday. That's because Bama will be headed to Baton Rouge to meet LSU in a critical Southeastern Conference game.

Alabama is 9-0 overall and ranked second in the nation. LSU, which was playing Tulane Saturday night, was expected to be 6-2, and possibly the best two loss team in the nation. The Tigers, as Nick Saban pointed out, have lost two games to top ten teams and are defending national champions. "And we've got to play them on the road."

But he pointed that out after he answered the question, which was only if whether it was now all right to begin talking about the LSU game. It was no surprise--and has at least some chance of being true--that he said, "I haven't thought about it."

He added, "But it's not going to be about me. It's going to be about our players. This team is 9-0 and has played very well this year."

Pressed for more, Saban said, "I shouldn't have mentioned 9-0. I was just making a point. We started out good, lost some respect midway through the season, then got it back. All without losing a game. But players shouldn't be satisfied with that. Players should want to finish this year so maybe they can accomplish something special, but at the same time we have to play them one at a time and we have a very good opponent coming up this week."

Saban said, "We're going to get challenged by some pretty good skill players in the next few games. We have a lot of improving to do, and I think the players understand it. A key to the success this season has been not making many mistakes."

Saban said the Tide didn't always finish Saturday, citing two trips into the red zone that ended without points.

He said, "I get frustrated any time we get the ball and don't score and I get frustrated anytime the opponent does score." He laughed as he added, "So I stay frustrated a pretty good bit of the time."

In his opening statement, Saban said, "I'm pleased with the way our guys rounded out today. I think the question for us in this game was, ‘Do you have more to give?' We need to improve as a team, and we want to play to our capacity. You simply ask yourself; whether you're a player or a coach, ‘Did I do that?', and what we're attempting to develop is an elite attitude with high expectations of what you expect to do every time you go out there and play. Tiger Woods, when he's asked he says, ‘You've never arrived,' and, if you have that kind of attitude where you're always trying to get better, you're always trying to improve working toward expectations, and the choices you make are very important to being able to do that.

"It's obviously great for your defense any time that you can shut them out. I think it says a lot about Kirby (Smart) and Kevin (Steele) and the entire defensive staff and the job that they did in terms of this zone offense, because they were a pretty good offensive football team with a pretty good quarterback.

"Offensively, we certainly moved the ball. We probably didn't pass it as well as we'd like at times; we made some plays in the passing game, but we didn't have the consistency and didn't seem to be in sync like we'd like to be and like we have been. We need to continue to work and develop that.

"Glen Coffee got a bruise on his bicep, but I think he'll be just fine. Mark Ingram bruised his knee on his last run, but no real issue or problem. I don't think either one of those guys will be an issue heading into the first part of the week."

Later he said that he thought nose tackle Terrence Cody, who has missed the last two games after suffering a sprained knee against Ole Miss, might be able to practice in preparation for LSU.

Saban noted, "We did a pretty good job on third downs. They were 2-12 and we stopped them a couple of times on fourth downs."

He said, "We had some guys who improved and played well and some who didn't. To some degree we improved, but not all the way. There was more consistency. We have more guys getting it. We have more who understand be as good as you can be at what you're trying to do. We're making progress. We have more and more players who are getting to that. It's the only way you can improve."

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