Things Are Tough In Bama Football

It could be said that phase two of Alabama's one-game season begins Sunday. Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban has called a bowl game "a one-game season," a compressed preparation period similar to an opening game following fall camp.

Alabama has completed four practices in three days, practices in which there was first team going against first team in full gear work that stressed fundamentals.

Beginning Sunday, Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, the Tide will have three days in which Bama will be exposed to schemes that could be new when Alabama meets Utah in the Sugar Bowl on January 2.

Tide players will be released from practice following Tuesday's practice, then reassemble in New Orleans on Saturday, December 27, to resume practice for the Sugar Bowl game. That week will be similar to a normal week of game preparation.

Kickoff in the Louisiana Superdome will be at 7 p.m. CST with national television coverage by Fox.

Alabama is 12-1 and ranked fourth in the nation. Utah is 12-0 and ranked sixth in the nation.

Saban said he had been "really pleased with the effort, energy and intensity" in the first four practices. "I think we made a tremendous amount of improvement in each practice," he said.

He said he was pleased both with carryover and with fundamental improvement.

Alabama is coming off a loss to Florida in the Southeastern Conference championship game. Utah previously was coached by Florida Coach Urban Meyer and much has been made of the report that Utah uses the same Meyer offense. Not so, said Saban.

"It's not really the same," Bama's coach said. "There are some of the same concepts, but Utah is much more a passing team." He said the Utah quarterback is not used in design runs, which is certainly a major part of the Florida offense with Tim Tebow.

"There's not really a lot of comparison in how they feature their players and in how Florida uses theirs," Saban said.

Saban continues to stress that Utah is a good team. He said the Utes have a very quick defense that is very challenging, an excellent quarterback who operates an efficient passing game, a team that is "solid and well-coached in everything."

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