"It's been extremely, extremely hot," he told reporters at his mid-week press conference. "Hotter than I can remember it being most of the time relative to the wet bulb. The last few practices that we had on Monday and Tuesday we had a wet bulb that was over 90, and that's getting up there. We've had a significant number of guys in the last two practices need IVs. Typically, once we get into the season schedule, that's uncommon."
No new injuries have been reported. Senior cornerback Randall Gay is out four weeks with a broken arm, but may still make the trip out west. He has taken on a different role in practice since his injury, helping freshmen safeties LaRon Landry and Jesse Daniels to better grasp the defense.
LSU's first contest against a Pac-10 opponent since the 1980s is indeed an intriguing one. Arizona is coming off a 42-7 trouncing of UTEP that shocked many, considering the internal strife that has engulfed the program throughout the last year. Players mutinied last year, going to university officials with a list of grievances against coach John Mackovic. Star running back Clarence Farmer and Mackovic are still not on speaking terms.
"I can tell you this much," says Saban of the trouble surrounding the Arizona team. "When you watch them play, they play with toughness, they play hard, they hustle, and they get after it. So there's nothing that you see in the way they play that is any indication that they have any problems."
The Wildcats run a two-back, pro-style attack that is much more conventional than the spread offense UL-Monroe employed. Saban believes the Tiger defense expects to play many more base defensive sets than it did last weekend.
Arizona also employs a two-quarterback system with Ryan O'Hara and Nic Costa. The two are a contrast in styles. O'Hara is the classic drop-back style of passer, whereas Costa brings more athleticism and running ability.
"I can't tell from one game how much their offense changes (between the two players)," says Saban. "They each ran basically ran the same plays when both guys were in the game, but they might have some different things that they do with the two guys."
Most coaches say that football teams make most of their improvement between games one and two. Saban has high hopes that he'll see that trend this week out in Tucson.
"That's what you always hope for," he says. "The first game you have a lot of anxiety. Young guys who haven't played don't realize the readiness that it takes to play at this level and they make a lot of mistakes. They have a lot better focus after that. Some of the older players who have high anxiety about playing settle down a little bit."