Saban Will Watch For Progress

So far, so good. But so far hasn't included a scrimmage yet. That will change Friday, and Alabama Coach Nick Saban thinks it will be interesting to see what happens when the Crimson Tide football team has its first scrimmage.

Following Alabama's work in shorts and helmets Wednesday, Coach Nick Saban said, "It will be interesting to see who will reverts back to their old habits, and who continues to make progress," when Bama goes to Bryant-Denny Stadium Friday for the first scrimmage of the spring. Alabama has completed seven of 15 practices. br>
The Tide had four consecutive practices in full gear before Wednesday's two hour practice in near-80 degree temperatures. br>
Saban said in Friday's scrimmage he will be looking for players who can "play disciplined football--whether it is eye control, looking at the right things, carrying out their assignments and doing it the right way. I think if we can get 11 guys doing that on both sides of the ball, then we can have a good football team. It will be interesting to see when the coaches aren't standing right behind them, telling them what to do, and they have to go out and play. I think the players that have more confidence, more maturity, more stability are going to be the guys who are able to do that." br>
He said, "That's one of the reasons we go out there and scrimmage, so we can see who is more ready to complete, who is ready to be more responsible, who is ready to take it to the next level and prepare themselves, being able to carry out what they do without any assistance, to recognize, to communicate, to do it on their own." br>
One man who will be available for the scrimmage is back-up quarterback Star Jackson. The upcoming sophomore was held out of several practices because of academic deficiencies. Saban said Jackson had fulfilled his academic obligations. br>
Other than center William Vlachos, who is out for the spring after having undergone off-season foot surgery, Saban said there were none who are counted out of the scrimmage. He did say there are a handful of players who may be held out. He mentioned that wide receiver Earl Alexander (stomach muscle), linebacker Dont'a Hightower (calf), and tailback Trent Richardson (hamstring) as players who have missed some work or been limited, but did not count them out. br>
Following Friday's scrimmage, the Crimson Tide will take Saturday and Sunday off for Easter before returning to work on Monday, April 5. br>
Saban said the spring objective continues to be to try to make progress and to get more players who can play winning football. He reiterated that the offense has more experience, that the defense has less experience but is making progress, and that he has been pleased with the progress made on special teams.

Saban said, "Wherever we are each day, we have to build from there. We have to do it one step at a time. We have to be patient in helping each player become the best player he can be. We have to use every opportunity we have and every rep that we have to do that."

He said players have to show mental toughness in becoming responsible to do their jobs and do it on a consistent basis. That means working to be the best he can be, not focusing on the result.

Saban said there is no seniority system on the football field, even though he thinks those who have been in a program longer should have an advantage. "I think it's our responsibility to play the best players," he said. "I've always thought as a coach and a coaching staff it's only fair that every player on our team have an opportunity." But he said it was only fair to the team to play the best players, giving the team the best opportunity to be successful.

"I don't care who plays," he said. "I want to play the best players and I want every player on our team to be the best he can be, have the best character, and have the best opportunity to be successful."

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