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"Our players practiced pretty well yesterday and did a good job today," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. "Every moment is a new moment and a different challenge. There has got to be a certain amount of something that comes from within you because you want to accomplish something of some significance, and if it doesn't come from you, then that means you are kind of satisfied with being average. Our team has not been that way all year long. They have always responded the right way, and I am pleased with the way they have responded this week."
What was a strength for the University of Alabama defense through the first eight games of the season — third-down effectiveness — has quickly become an area of concern the last two weeks for UA coach Nick Saban. Texas A&M punctuated that concern with 11 conversions in 18 chances Saturday night in UA's first loss of the season. "The past two weeks, lots of issues not getting off the field on third down, which hasn't been a real factor all year long," Saban said. "But in the last two weeks, we gave up 14 points in the second half against LSU, going 0 for 7 on third downs during that time and we started this game 0 for 7 on third down and got behind in the game and got behind because of it."
Steele is pleased with the way the Tide has played in a 70-67 victory over South Dakota State and an 80-49 victory over West Alabama. "I think it’s good anytime you can win," he said. "We’ve only played two games, but I’m really excited about our team. We’re still young, and we’re going to grow up and get better. I think the thing we try to work on is our defense. I think it’s the biggest area we can improve is understand how hard we have to play and that our defense is going to be what gives us a chance to win every game." Steele is impressed with Lacey, who came back from preseason knee surgery to average 7.9 points last season. "Last year, I don’t think he was as healthy as he is now," Steele said. "Seeing him play for the past two years, I’m not surprised at all. He’s playing with such confidence, and he’s such a great playmaker. He has the ability to make the big play, whether it’s making the right pass or making the right shot.
"We are very excited to have Jimmie and Shannon sign National Letter of Intent’s with the University of Alabama today," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said in a news release. "They are both outstanding young men who come from quality families. They also have a passion and excitement level for Alabama and our basketball program."
Rivals.com National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Eric Bossi said Alabama got a promising prospect in Taylor. "He's got the ideal length and quickness that you would love to see from a big man," Bossi said. "He can run the floor, his offense isn't bad and he's got a frame to build on. I think with him it will just be about adding confidence and playing with a little bit more of a physical age. Once that happens, the other parts of his game could really take off."
"We’re just focused on now and what we have ahead, not on Miami. If we take care of everything, Miami will take care of itself," said Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, who has admitted in the past he’s not a fan of any college football game in which he isn’t in uniform. Count Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson as another who doesn’t want to watch any college football once he takes off the pads Saturday afternoon. "It’s hard to really with school and the way we do football here," he said. "It’s always football, football, football. The only way I’d get to see something on TV is on Fridays in the hotel, and there’s really not much on."
"I think we really have to learn that we don’t win around here just by showing up," Jones said. "We win by focusing on details, and by executing plays correctly and I think it’s really not an effort issue, it’s just an issue of execution. "We haven’t been executing that well the last few weeks and now we really just got to get back to doing the little things."
"It seems like yesterday I just got here," the senior defensive end said. He committed to Alabama while he was at Clay-Chalkville High School, but he ended up at East Mississippi Community College after he failed to qualify academically. "From high school to here, it's a long story," Dial said Wednesday after practice. "I was a real hard worker. I never gave up. I always believed that I would play here one day. Hard work can get you a long way. "I had to go through juco, but I never gave up." East Mississippi Community College is in Scooba, Miss., which is 80 minutes southwest of Tuscaloosa. "It's right in the middle of nowhere just to keep you focused on what you've got to do: take care of your school work and football," Dial said.
"He's played some but now that he needs to play, you always sit back and wish that, 'Maybe I ought have played him a little bit more somewhere along the lines so he had a little bit more experience," Saban said. "Sometimes with young guys, they kind of just all of a sudden. It seems like the light goes on and they've got it and they get it and they start playing with confidence again and they feel like they know what they're doing and they don't make a bunch of mistakes. "That happened with Geno in the last couple of weeks. Maybe he sees a better opportunity to play, that's been a motivating factor for him. I've been really pleased with his progress."
"I'm not really in the position to make comparisons, relative to what the other teams have done," Saban said. "I'm just kind of focused on what our team needs to do to be successful and try to give themselves the best chance to put themselves in the position if they can to control the things that they can control, which is to try to win the games that we have to play to see what happens."