Open Week Press Conference: A Gem

Yesterday’s Nick Saban press conference was a classic.

Concerning AJ’s toe:

Asked Tuesday if the minor injury affected McCarron’s mobility in Saturday’s 35-10 victory over Virginia Tech, Saban said he was “sort of sick and tired of talking about this BS because it’s nothing.”

“AJ’s mobility is fine,” Saban said. “His mobility was fine in the game and there was nothing wrong with him in the game.”

Concerning asking about players that didn’t play:

“The guy plays every play in the game and on two special teams, he’s running down the sidelines with Christion Jones, faster than Christion Jones is, cuts the angle off the safety so the guy can run for a touchdown,” Saban said. “Why isn’t somebody asking about him? What’s wrong with asking about him and what kind of player he is and how did he do? Because I mean, that guy does fantastic.”

Concerning wake-up calls:

Before he fielded a single question, Saban called out an unnamed group of players he hoped received a “wake-up call” from Saturday’s 35-10 victory over Virginia Tech. His analogy of the situation went away from the football field and into the world of dog walking.

“We live in a society now where everybody wants to do what they want to do. Nobody wants to be obedient. Nobody wants to pay attention to rules or whatever,” Saban said. “When you make a rule you’ve got to have your dog on a leash, somebody wants to have their dog not on a leash. That’s the way it is.

“We can’t have a team of people like that. We’ve got rules, we’ve got things that people need to buy into, be committed to, principles and values of the organization. Everybody’s got to do it. If everybody’s not willing to do it, then we probably shouldn’t play them, we should play somebody else and get people that are bought in.”

He added that he doesn’t believe Alabama can win “with people who don’t do that.”

And more about playing time for freshmen:

Asked about some of Alabama’s young wide receivers — particularly redshirt freshman Chris Black and freshmen Raheem Falkins and Robert Foster — and how they would be able to crack into the playing rotation, Saban countered with a question of his own.

“Who do you want to take off the field?” Saban asked. “Do you want to take Amari Cooper off, do you want to take Christion Jones off, do you want to take(DeAndrew) White off, do you want to take Kenny Bell off, do you want to take Kevin Norwood off? Because they have lots of experience and they have good karma with the quarterback.

“I think all those young guys have to develop that. It takes time to develop. And they’re talented guys and we’re pleased and happy to have them here, but it’s kind of up to them to prove that we can trust them.”

“I didn’t see enough to take T.J. (Yeldon) out, or (Jalston) Fowler or Dee Hart,” Saban said. “I saw that they have ability and potential and they need time to develop so that they’re comfortable and confident in doing what they’re supposed to do and they can do it fast.”

And those blurbs don’t even include his comments concerning Kenny Bell and his status on the team.

We can chuckle about how Saban delivers his message, but he actually delivered some solid information here.  And like he does in many of his press conferences, he sent a message to the team.  Here are a few takeaways from his comments:

1) Sportswriters don’t always ask smart questions.  Yes, we are interested to know about the progress of younger players and why they didn’t play or only played a little, but those questions do, indeed, overlook some obviously stellar performances, like Mosley’s.

2) The questions about McCarron’s toe missed the mark entirely.  It was pretty obvious that McCarron didn’t play all that well, at least statistically, but the thing that stood out more than his poor stats were his poor fundamentals.  He seemed to be drifting back in the pocket all game and throwing off of his back foot.  Sure, his performance wasn’t very McCarron-like, but it was probably more due to the offensive line play than his aching toe.

3) Wake-up calls.  Yes, some were sent.  I think the question is, to whom were they sent?  My guesses include the offensive line, possibly the receivers, and maybe even to Kenny Bell.  But this also could be another one of Saban’s Jedi mind tricks.  The team played ugly.  Everybody knows that.  But I’m sure Saban would rather be feeding this fire than talking for two weeks about Texas A&M and how great and invincible his team is.

4) Playing time for new guys.  These highly rated freshmen have been hyped since last signing day, so I think it’s normal that folks want to know how they played.  But it’s also rather obvious when your offense is so out of sync, that it may not be the best time to give a chunk of playing time to freshmen.  I don’t think the game plan for Va Tech was very dynamic, by design, and I also think the team let down when up 14-0, but I don’t think that meant the offensive should have stop trying to execute properly.  I think Saban and Nussmeier went in basic, and stayed basic – even in the face of a dynamic defense like the Hokies, but still wanted the offense to get into a rhythm and dominate.  (Obviously, that never happened.)