Coach Saban talked to the media following practice this afternoon. It's clear from his opening remarks, that the themes for practice as camp winds down are consistency and persistence. The team will practice on Friday, and will scrimmage on Saturday to conclude fall camp.
A couple of small pieces of injury news:
Freshman running back Alvin Kamara had his knee scoped in a procedure that was very similar to the one Mark Ingram had before the 2010 season. He'll be out a couple of weeks.
Redshirt Freshman nose tackle Wilson Love has "a medical issue" and has been day-to-day, but should be fine moving forward.
Moving on to the questions Saban fielded:
- On whether Saturday's scrimmage will feature some live kick/punt returns and what the kick/punt return men lineup looks like - Dee Hart, Christion Jones, and Cyrus Jones were all called out by name and it sounds like that group will be the go to guys for those roles. Color me uninspired by this news. Christion and Cyrus in particular had WAY too many muffed returns last year, so hopefully that will be cleaned up. For what it's worth, Saban said "I'm pretty pleased with where we are with our returners."
Unsurprisingly, the team "never, ever have practiced kicking live". I wouldn't think we'd risk injury laying guys out, especially not two weeks removed from opening day.
- On offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio - "I don't think that I've seen anybody more dedicated, more determined, work harder". The more Saban talks about Arie's improved mobility, the more it sounds like the Killer Kouandjio Bookends is about to happen. The staff plans on sticking with the new offensive line arrangement (Austin Shepherd at left guard/Arie at right tackle) in the scrimmage, and will make a determination on the arrangement they want depending on the results.
- On the tight end group - Brian Vogler and Jalston Fowler both were called out and complimented as being "pretty good and pretty consistent." It sounds like the guys behind that have been a bit more uneven . Look for Brandon Green to come in as a snow plow on goal line situations. O.J. Howard is still learning the system, and it sounds like it is slowing him down a bit.
- On the best and worst things that have happened in camp - Saban doesn't have time for this question, but he does have time to spend three minutes not answering it.
- On the kickers - both Cade Foster and Adam Griffith have performed well so far.
- On Jai Miller and his role on this year's team - Jai is a very mature, hard-working player that sets a good example for the other players. It sounds like he's still behind the other safeties on the team in terms of comfort with the system. Saban didn't rule it out, so I'll speculate that we'll see Jai laying some serious wood in the kickoff game this year.
- On what it means for players to "play with their eyes" - Saban talked at length about "disciplined eye control". The phrase that he used was "see a little, see a lot", which emphasizes focusing on the small things to be able to react quickly to the play at large.
Here is video of the press conference: