Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke to the media via Zoom for the second time on Wednesday. With the Crimson Tide set to travel to Auburn to take on the Tigers in the final regular-season game, the team is looking to finish strong.
On Wednesday, Saban shared a heartwarming statement on the passing of legendary Alabama beat writer Cecil Hurt, as well as other topics such as how the program handles Thanksgiving and updating injuries.
“I think in games like this, big rivalry games, a lot of emotion playing on the road, it’ll be a very emotional environment that we play in that’s really important that players can stay focused on the task at hand, focus on the details and the communication on the things they have to do to execute regardless of what the noise level is or where we’re playing or whatever. I think that’s really, really important in a game like this.
“I’d like to send out our deepest condolences to Cecil Hurt’s family, friends, all the people who enjoyed the columns that he wrote through the years. I know it was his passion to do a great job in terms of how he covered Alabama athletics. He was a good friend. He was actually a trusted companion to me. You know, I confided a lot of things in him. He never violated my trust. I thought the guy was one of the brightest, neatest big picture thinkers, you know, ever that I’ve ever been associated with in the media environment. Truly just loved the guy, loved his sense of humor, loved the way he went about his work and he’ll certainly be missed by all of us. But our thoughts and prayers and condolences go out to his family.
“I’d also like to wish everybody a really Happy Thanksgiving. I think this is a time of year when we should all have gratitude for all the things that we have in our life. That’s what we give thanks for. Family, friends, relationships, opportunities that we’ve been given that sometimes seem like a burden but yet they’re a blessing. So I’d just like to wish everybody out there a really happy holiday this time around.
“Our plans for tomorrow for our players are we moved practice up an hour, some of the guys that live close by can get out early enough to have Thanksgiving dinner at home, some guys have it here with their family and the coaches have the rest of the players come to their house for Thanksgiving dinner and be a part of our family. So we’re going to have a nice group at our house, which we always enjoyed. Miss Terry always does a great job making those guys feel at home.”
On how the response has been to cases of “poor me’s” last week…
“I think the players have had good energy in practice and had pretty good focus, so you never know until you get to the game. I know we’ve got a lot of guys that are banged up like every team does at this time of the year. So it gets a little bit harder to stay focused on doing your job if you’re going to focus on what’s ailing you. But we have a lot of guys that have a lot of mental toughness that are able to play through those types of things. But it’s been good so far.”
“Drew’s doing fine. It’s a little bit tougher for him to use that hand, especially when he’s playing with that cast on his hand. But I think he’s getting more accustomed to it, I think he’s getting more confident in it. Dallas Turner has done a really nice job for us, being a freshman. He’s gained a lot of confidence and a lot of experience. He doesn’t make a lot of errors in the game. He’s a smart guy, prepares the right way. So we feel like all three of those guys can play winning football for us with Will (Anderson).”
On injured defensive lineman DJ Dale…
“Yeah, he practiced today. He probably wasn’t 100 percent, but I think this is something that will get better and better. So we’ll just see how he progresses.”
On Bryce Young’s improved decision-making…
“I think that decision-making is what sort of promotes production. I think because he’s well-prepared, we’ve had good plans on offense and he does a great job of executing it and his decision-making and judgment is what leads to the production that we have. Poor judgment leads to bad plays, and he only had a couple of those. So that’s a really good batting average, and that’s why he’s got the production and had the performance that he’s had because of his choices and decisions and making good decisions based on the preparation and being able to go out there on the field and recognize what to do quickly and delivering the ball accurately. He’s done an outstanding job of that all year long. He had exceptional stats in the last game. But the other players around him played well, so that contributed to it, as well.”
Full press conference…