"You always try to feature the players you have on offense," Saban said. "I certainly think AJ is a guy who has proven that he's trustworthy to do the kind of things when you open up the offense, not to make the kind of mistakes with turning the ball over that can really hurt your team. I think you can make a lot more explosive plays that way. "I think it's going to be important for our team this year, with the offensive line we have returning and the experience AJ has at the quarterback position, to be that type of team."
Saban, who used to face the U-M when he was at Michigan State, said he’s happy to start the schedule with a big game. “I think it helps your off-season, the way that players go through spring practice, the summer conditioning program,” he said. “They’re really looking forward to that national game that you’re going to play to start the season. That’s served us well. “I think it also really helps your team prepare for the tough games you have in the SEC down the road.”
Lacy, who ran for 674 yards and seven touchdowns on just 95 carries last season, missed all of the spring with turf toe. He's been fully cleared to practice when Alabama opens camp next week -- "The spin move is back," tight end Michael Williams said -- but he's been guaranteed nothing. The competition behind him simply won't permit it. Junior Jalston Fowler and freshman T.J. Yeldon, who was named the offensive MVP at A-Day, took full advantage of the extra looks they received during the spring while Lacy was unable to participate. "I wouldn't want to speak for (Lacy), but seeing T.J. play like that in the spring game, and seeing Jalston Fowler being the monster that he is, you got to have something to know that you have to get back and have to play at your best just to get your spot back," Williams said.
The month of August might not be enough time to settle who is going to be toting the rock most for Alabama in 2012. This could very well be a situation that develops organically and evolves throughout the season. Maybe it will go to whoever has the "hot hand" between Lacy and Yeldon. No matter what, both figure to be at the top of stat sheet when the season comes to a close.
jbcarol (Happy Valley) Coach Saban, how do you handle the added pressure of the program being the biggest attraction in your area?
Nick Saban (2:20 PM) Pressure is self inflicted in terms of what you want to accomplish, the quality you want in your program. The standard that you expect from everybody. All of that is sort of the vision that we have in the program, the plan that we have, the standard that we try to create to do it on a consistent basis. That pressure doesn't come externally.
Saban didn't say whether or not he would pursue these players. He only mentioned how he would listen to the ones that approach Alabama. "We also sell the fact that you've got to be a good person and you've got to be more successful in life and being involved in our program by getting an education and developing a career off the field as well as maybe being able to develop a career on the field," he said. "A player can still do that. If somebody's really interested in the University of Alabama, we'd certainly be interested in entertaining what his interest might be."
"I think Saban and staff would be interested if its the right player for the right position," said BamaOnline recruiting analyst Tim Watts. "I don't see them taking a guy just to take him but if Saban feels like the transfer could help them, it's a possibility. It would also probably be more likely if it was a long term answer than just for a year or two."
Bengals rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is telling associates that he suffered a leg injury while gearing up for camp, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reports. According to one league source, there could be an issue with a small broken bone in that area, and could cause the rookie to miss most or all of camp.