Saban Updates Tide Injury Situation
Alabama is 11-0 and ranked first in the nation. The Crimson Tide has an open date this weekend, then closes out regular season play in a nationally-televised game against Auburn on Nov. 29. Alabama and Auburn will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CST with national television coverage by CBS.
On Monday, Saban announced that senior Bama wide receiver Will Oakley broke a collarbone falling down stairs. He said Oakley could miss the rest of his senior season.
"We've got lots of bumps and bruises," Coach Nick Saban said at his weekly Monday press briefing. Saban said linebacker Rolando McClain suffered a lacerated thumb in the State game, and it's been re-opened, re-cleaned and re-stitched. McClain will likely wear a protective cast this week at practice.
"Ro [Rolando McClain] has lot of mental and physical toughness," Saban said. "He's shown as a competitor the ability to play through injuries. ‘Ro's' got a pretty special emotional maturity."
Receiver Earl Alexander (shoulder) and running back Roy Upchurch (neck spasms) will practice this week. Contact-wise, both are day-to-day. Backup back Terry Grant bruised a thigh on special teams Saturday. Saban said the bruise was the reason that Grant did not play at running back Saturday, though Grant stayed in the game on special teams.
Saban said that during the bye week, the scout team will show the starting offense and defense some looks of teams like Florida that were not on the Tide's original schedule. "If that opponent does some things we haven't seen, we'll certainly look at that at practice this week," he said. "We gather info so we can make evaluations. If we have an opponent coming up that we hadn't planned to play, we have to do due diligence." Saban hinted, but did not say, that that list could include possible bowl opponents.
Having graded film of the win over Mississippi State Saturday, Saban said, "I thought the players did a really good job of competing in the game and pushing their way through the game. We obviously played and executed a little better in the second half than we did the first."
Saban announced the team's players of the week after posting grades. Offensive winners were tackle Drew Davis and tight Travis McCall. Defensive honorees named were linebackers McClain and Brandon Fanney. On special teams, the staff named four players: Javier Arenas, Rashad Johnson, punter P.J. Fitzgerald and kicker Leigh Tiffin.
The staff named the punt return team as a whole for the 16 points it produced.
McClain is the only Tider to win the award nine times this year. Johnson has been named eight times, and Fanney five in the team's 11 games.
The Tide hosts arch-rival Auburn Nov. 29. "Auburn is a good program and a good team. They always have good running backs," Saban said.
Asked about Auburn's six-game win streak against the Tide, Saban said, "We've beaten a lot of teams this year we hadn't beaten recently. It was how we played that night, and executed on the field. This (Auburn) game will be the same way."
Saban is looking to upper-class team leaders to help keep the Tides focused on Auburn rather than Florida, which the Tide plays in the SEC Championship game on Dec. 6 in Atlanta.
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