Alabama prepares for Virginia Tech

Alabama head coach Nick Saban started out the football press conference Wednesday explaining why the team has been practicing in the indoor facility, despite the pleasant weather outside in Tuscaloosa this week. His theory is that the team would get more acquainted with the environment they will play in this weekend.

"We've had really good work this week and I have been really pleased with the players," Saban said following Wednesday's practice. "Some questions may be about why we are working indoors; well we are going to play indoors."

"It really wasn't that hot this week, but the playing surface gives us a better job of recovering and getting used to the surface and not getting drained by the heat as much. It's the same thing we tried to do last year a couple of days before the game. We will do that again tomorrow."

Saban said Wednesday's practice was more of a typical Thursday practice and less strenuous. Tomorrow the team plans on covering situations and Friday the team will travel to Atlanta.

After having a good number of players out of practice these past few weeks with the flu, having Brandon Deaderick absent because a shooting has caused quite a bit of commotion in Tuscaloosa.

"I know you're probably interested in Brandon being out there, but it's amazing to me that from a medical standpoint the extent of his injury is not that significant," Saban said.

"He has a great attitude about coming out and doing stuff with the team. You know we're going to take the situation day-to-day, and you know each day he'll probably do some more. And at some point in time he wants to be there."

"We're not going to put any player at risk relative to their future or the situation at their end, and he will have to definitely improve on a daily basis. When we feel like he's ready to play we'll probably allow him to play, and I don't know when that is right now."

Throughout the week, Saban has constantly emphasized his respect for Virginia Tech's head coach, Frank Beamer, and their program. The program, which is known for a defense, rarely gives away points and special teams that has at least 25 players who have scored touchdowns.

Under Beamer, the Hokies have worked to score points in all areas of the team. Last year, their defense was ranked ninth in scoring defense.

"I'm pleased with the progress we're making," Saban said. "This is going to be a challenging game for us, and I think everyone's excited about playing. We're certainly excited about it. (Playing them is) a great opportunity for our team (especially when) we're playing (against) a very good program like Virginia Tech."

"A very well coached team will be very challenging for our players and tell us a lot about where we are."

Alabama will come into the game Saturday with a No. 5 preseason ranking, while Virginia Tech is close behind at No. 7. The last time the teams played was at the 1998 Music City Bowl in Nashville where the Hokies defeated the Crimson Tide 38-7.

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