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WATCH: Nick Saban speaks on Wednesday of Austin Peay week

47377776_10156854436900775_2208546246019252224_nby:Clint Lamb11/16/22


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — On Wednesday evening, Alabama coach Nick Saban addressed the media ahead of the upcoming game against Austin Peay. This was the second time we had heard from him on Wednesday with the first coming during the SEC Coaches Teleconference.

Below, you can find the video and an entire transcript of Saban’s media availability from Wednesday.

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Opening statement…

“We talk a lot about culture, we talk a lot about identity, but really what makes you sort of motivated, what creates an identity for all of us? We all strive for self-respect, but how do we go about doing it? There’s a lot of successful people who really aspire to accomplish certain things. They have goals and aspirations, they know exactly what they have to do to do it and they go about every day with a positive attitude, a lot of positive mindset to try to accomplish those things. And when they get to it, they usually have success because they’re well-prepared. And then a lot of other people need something bad to happen, need to get humiliated before they really sort of respond — because their pride is hurt, their self-respect is hurt — and then they really respond and do well in things.

“It’s a life lesson for all of us to choose the first path and that goes a long way in creating an identity for you as a person as well as for us as a team and that’s certainly what we’re trying to strive for to finish this season. Playing this game for what we want to accomplish, what we want to do, re-establish the identity that we want in Alabama football and that’s what we’re gonna try to finish and do and it’ll be interesting to see how players choose to do that.

“I told the players earlier in the week, I said, ‘Nobody should be able to come to practice and watch practice and be able to know who we’re playing this week.’ If you’re really motivated to do things the right way and you wanna go play well regardless, then nobody would be able to come here and know who we’re playing because it’s how you go about your work, it’s what you do and I think that’s the culture that we’re trying to create and what we’re trying to get our players to understand and try to do. I think a lot of them do it well, some of them are learning lessons on how to do it well.”

On if it’s surreal coaching against players like Tra Stover, whose dad he coached at Alabama… 

“Yeah, but that started a long time ago. I mean, I coached Mark Ingram’s dad. Yeah, it is but also… (laughs) it also makes me aware of how long I’ve been doing it, but in a good way. In a good way. So yeah it does, but I actually didn’t know that. I knew the name of the player, but I never made the association. Appreciate you telling me that.”

On the injury statuses of Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs, CB Eli Ricks

“We’ll see. They’re kind of day-to-day in terms of how they’re doing and what they’re doing. We won’t be able to make that determination until closer to the game.”

On the progress he’s seen from Alabama’s freshmen receivers…

“I think the freshmen receivers are a very talented group and I think there have been times when each one of them have made really, really good plays. I think the biggest things is — with young players — is that consistency in performance. They’re not used to the grind of this kind of competition over this long a period of time and that comes with experience, it comes with maturity. But I’m very encouraged by that entire class.

“I mean, Emmanuel Henderson has done really, really well, too. He’s starting to really blossom on special teams, he knows what he’s doing at receiver now, he’s very explosive. So you’ve seen like all the other freshmen that have played to some degree.  A couple of other guys that are talented guys like Aaron Anderson has been hurt. He’s finally healthy and you can see what his potential might be, but it’s kind of late in the season to try to get these guys involved in what’s happening. But I’m very encouraged about that group.”

On Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding…

“I think Pete has done a really, really good job. He’s very bright. He articulates well with the players. He’s a good teacher. I think he’s a good motivator. I think the players respond well to him. He’s added some things that has helped us get better. I think he’s done a very good job with the personnel that we have, and I just really appreciate the really good job that he’s done. I think he’s made really positive steps every year since he’s been here. I love hiring younger guys like that and let them grow and develop in the organization, and he’s certainly done a fantastic job of that.”

On if there’s any metrics to track blue-collar plays…

“I’ve been coaching a long time, so you have to define what a blue-collar play to me. I mean, offensive linemen, they’ve gotta blue-collar play every down. Some positions more than others. Some positions, every time you score a touchdown, you get accolades. Every time you throw a long touchdown pass, you get accolades. Every time you get an interception, you get accolades. But people who play on special teams, people who are core members of the team, who embrace their role, whatever it is, and they do it extremely well and they wanna contribute in every way that they can, even though it may be a small way, they do it the right way. I think those guys are all blue-collar guys. That’s the way I would define it I guess.” 

On the pros and cons of using spies on defense…

“Obviously, you have a spy. You can rush three guys and have a spy. You can rush four guys and have a spy. That means you’ve got five guys committed to the rush or you’ve got four guys committed to the rush. But the spy only works in passing situations. The spy only works when the quarterback drops back to pass and then he takes off running. When it’s actually a running play where the quarterback is a runner in the play, like an option or a zone, the quarterback pulls the ball and has the tight end leading in front of him – that’s just like option football. That’s responsibility football. There is no spy for that. Somebody’s responsible for the quarterback, and it could be different guys in different coverages, different defenses.

“But the spy only works – and we’ve done a lot of spying. When we’ve been hurt by the quarterback run, like the 31-yard run at LSU, a guy made a mental error in the stunt that we were running, so we had a pass-rush lane that was open with five guys rushing. So when you have five guys rushing, you wanna push the pocket so the guy can’t get out or you rush four and you have a spy. So we rushed five, probably would have had a sack if we’d have done it the right way. But we didn’t do it the right way, and the guy ran for 31 yards and that set up a score. So we’ve gotta do a better job of teaching guys ash right and ash left.”

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