Nick Saban addressed the media Thursday afternoon following the Tide's final practice of the spring. This is the last we'll see of the Saban and the team until Saturday's spring game. Unfortunately, Saban brought some more bad news, when he revealed that Xzavier Dickson will not participate in A-Day. You may recall that Dickson was held out of the last scrimmage, but it was thought that this was only due to a bruised knee. Now it seems that Dickson will miss Saturdays exhibition and may need surgery to repair his knee cap. He is expected to be at full health in time for fall camp. In addition to Dickson, the following players will not participate in A-Day: Derrick Henry, John Fulton, Kevin Norwood, Trey Depriest, and Wilson Love. All are expected back in time for fall camp.
Saban's overall tone was generally positive, and he seemed pleased with the team's intensity and attentiveness. He made it a point to emphasize the importance of a strong turnout by the fans, the impact of which should not be underestimated. Sure, the game is on ESPN, but it you are at all able to make the trip, you should. After all, what could be better than sitting in Bryant Denny on a beautiful afternoon basking in the glory of another championship while taking in the sights of the team of tomorrow?
Here are a few quick points from the conference:
- Regarding the salary increases: the staff has done a great job, and the goal is to maintain continuity by ensuring that people wouldn't make more doing their job at any other program.
- Regarding the competition at kicker: both kickers (Cade Foster and Adam Griffith) have performed well throughout spring camp. Don't look for a decision to be made at this position until deep in fall camp, if a decision gets made at all.
- Regarding the plan for QB rotation at A-Day: it sounds like roughly four or so of the QBs will play. AJ and Blake Sims were the only two QBs mentioned specifically by name.
- Regarding C.J. Mosley's spring: C.J. has done well this spring, and will play in the A-Day game with a black jersey on. Saban also refreshed my memory when he mentioned that Mark Barron played in an A-Day game in a black jersey a couple years ago.
- Regarding hopes/expectations for the A-Day: Saban talked about the value in using a spring game to simulate a real game environment to evaluate players' maturity and intensity. It struck me how Saban's no-nonsense, business-like approach is so opposite of Steve Spurrier, who routinely has guys catching passes off the sidelines and generally goofing off.
- Regarding the support staff and the extent of their responsibilities: Saban estimated that he evaluated 500 guys this past year, and that the support staff probably evaluated twice as many to find the 500 worth Saban taking the time to look at.
- Regarding AJ's spring: AJ has had a good spring, and his biggest strides this spring have come in the form of improving his leadership. First I've heard someone say it this spring, but apparently his arm strength has increased as well (watch out Joe Willie).
- Regarding the trip to Washington D.C.: it's a fantastic experience for the players, and the chance for the team to be together in a different environment served to further improve team unity. Money quote: "We've seen just about everything there is to see." Maybe Saban can ask the president to meet the team in a different city on one of the next visits, just to mix up the sight seeing.
Full video of the press conference is available here: LINK