“Do you want to be a thermometer, which goes up and down with the circumstances around it, or do you want to be a thermostat, which creates the same temperature all the time, with consistency, that you can count on, depend on, trust in, believe in,” Saban said during a Sunday morning meeting with reporters. “That’s what we’re trying to gain. Everyone is individually responsible for that. The coaches are responsible to try to get the individuals to be responsible for that. We’re working on trying to develop a consistency.”
The offensive principles of Nick Saban-coached teams, such as run-pass balance and a strong emphasis on ball security, won’t change with a new coordinator. But that doesn’t mean Nussmeier won’t bring a few new ideas that can be incorporated into the look of the Crimson Tide’s 2012 offense. “I guess we’ll have to see on Sept. 1 what all new stuff we’ve got, but we’re definitely throwing in some good things, some new things from Washington and things Coach Nuss has done throughout his coaching career,” McCarron said. “We’re taking some things from our old offense. I think it’s definitely going to be a very explosive offense we have this year and a fun one to watch.”
But Saban, defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and the offensive players describe Nussmeier as a quality prospect to run Alabama’s offense and handle the play-calling. “He has called plays in circumstances and situations here with us, whether it was a scrimmage or an A-Day game or whatever,” Saban said Sunday morning before the Tide’s annual Fan Day practice. “He’s a very bright guy with a lot of positive energy. He has a lot of good ideas that we’ve implemented into our offense. “The players respond well to him. The adjustments we’ve made in the passing game are going to be beneficial to our offensive team maybe being more explosive and creating more balance.”
Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart alluded to some new looks. "I think he does a great job offensively, really enjoy what they give us a couple other personnel groupings, more than what Coach McElwain used," Smart said. "A high-energy guy out there at practice, a lot like McElwain. He and McElwain both came from similar backgrounds, so there's a lot of carryover there. They do a good job in the passing game, very innovative. Kind of have an answer for everything you do, so it's always a chess match when you get to go out there."
Nussmeier, who already had a good relationship with McElwain before he replaced his friend on the staff, came into the job knowing how competitive things are on this staff. He said he enjoys competing daily against the Tide’s defensive minds. “When you practice against that group, it’s very challenging every day. It really is,” Nussmeier said. “It’s exciting. It’s competition. I think anything you do with competition you get better.” Nussmeier said facing Nick Saban’s defense forces you to evaluate every element of a play. “You see so many different looks. It exposes you, really, to a mindset that you have to really be looking at every play you’re running,” he said. “You learn really fast some strengths and some weaknesses you have in place – which is really, really good.”
"All these predictions that you all make, they hijack the game," Saban said before fielding reporters' questions. "All anybody worries about in college football is the BCS, who's going to be in the final game. We have a lot of great games, for our fans, for our players, great competitive venues. Michigan's going to be a great game. Arkansas game, Tennessee game, LSU, Auburn. I could go through every game on our schedule and say how exciting a game this is going to be. And why do we play the games? To answer the questions."
"I know you guys are going to have all of these comparison questions and 'where you're ranked' and 'how many games you're going to win' and 'what's going to happen to this guy' and 'which guy is going to make the biggest impact on the team' and all of the predictions you make. They hijack the game," Saban said. "All anybody worries about in college football is the BCS. Who's going to be in the final game? We have a lot of great games for our fans and our players. To answer your questions, I don't know who is going to be our quarterback in game six, and no one here can predict that. You go and vote in your polls and you want me to respond to it. Our focus is developing a synergy on our team. The goal of our team is to be relentless competitors -- to be a team that nobody really wants to play by the effort, the toughness, and the ability to be relentless and sustain for 60 minutes in a game."
"It was kind of frustrating, but it was a chance for the guys on the side of me to be able to get in and show what they have," Lacy said. "Even though, from my perspective, I want to be out there, the fact that the younger guys were able to get some work, it all turned out good."
Freshman Cyrus Jones, who is simply labeled an athlete on Alabama's roster, worked with both the running backs and wide receivers today. From what we saw from the first two practices, He had exclusively been with the wide receivers.
On how the new group looks: “The new group looks like what I tried to explain the new group looks like. There’s a lot of learning that everybody is trying to go through. It’s human nature for people to not want to mess up. That creates a lot of anxiety. When I went over to visit the Mercedes plant for the first time, they gave me a tour. They have this clothes line running through the whole assembly line. I asked what it was for and they said they don’t have very many cars that need work done when they are finished here because their quality control is if whatever you are doing at your station, if it’s not working exactly right, you pull the cord, stop the assembly line and re-engineer that circumstance and fix it so that things aren’t done incorrectly. I said that’s great and sounds wonderful. I asked what the biggest problem was and they said getting people to pull the cord. Nobody wants to think that their part of it isn’t working, that they are doing it wrong. You’ve got all these new players that don’t know what they are doing but they don’t want anybody to think they don’t know what they are doing. They become very risk aversive and don’t go play fast. They don’t want to make a mistake. They do everything very tentatively. What we are trying to get those players to understand is giving effort, playing fast and playing with good intangibles is the most important thing you can do. You will learn from the mistakes you make, allow yourself to make them. We will teach you from that.”
"It got out of hand pretty quick," Williams said today before Alabama's Fan Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium. "We didn't think it would blow up that fast. I didn't think I was that popular online. "I wasn't trying to make a statement or anything. Just how hard we're working in the weight room, running on the field and how much better everyone was getting through the summer workouts." Some of Williams' teammates suggested that Williams can lift more than 600 pounds. He agreed, but said he didn't attempt it because of "safety reasons."
Hubbard, who is expected to present a consistent pass rush threat for Alabama at the Jack or Sam linebacker position, received the Dwight Stephenson Lineman of the Game award at A-Day after he piled up seven tackles, including four for a loss and three sacks. As a redshirt freshman in 2011, Hubbard saw action in nine games and finished with nine tackles. "People are always saying 'Adrian is going to be this,' but I never feel comfortable about how I'm doing," Hubbard said. "I didn't think A-Day went very well. It seemed OK. I played an all right game. My teammates help me do what I can do out there."
Former University of Alabama track and field star Kirani James' march to an Olympic medal took another full stride Sunday in London. Representing Grenada, James easily won his 400-meter semifinal heat, coasting across the finish line with a season-best time of 44.59 seconds. The final will be run at 3:30 p.m. CDT Monday.
Instead of immediately celebrating his victory in the 400-meter semifinals Sunday, James approached South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, embraced him and asked to exchange bib numbers. It was a sign of the respect the reigning world champion has for the double amputee sprinter whose bid to make the 400 meters final fell short when he finished last in their semifinal heat.