Nick Saban spoke with the media following today's scrimmage. His disposition was generally positive, as he opened up the address by stating that there was "a lot of improvement in a lot of players from the last scrimmage to this scrimmage." Unsurprisingly, the praise was immediately tempered with the assessment that the team looked slow, as a result of the grind of fall camp.
To no one's surprise, Saban didn't make it out of his opening remarks without commenting on Alabama's place atop the newly released AP poll. On that topic, Saban stated that the team "can't have complacency. Can't be satisfied with where we are. No matter what any poll says, this team hasn't done anything to create its own identity."
Summary of questions Saban fielded:
- On the plan for the next couple of days - two days off for the players. This is the way it's always been for the team. The team will stretch, lift and watch film on Monday, but no practice.
- On whether the team will go into game prep immediately - Saban said that the one or two days extra of game prep is probably enough. Consequently, Tuesday and Wednesday practices will "work on other things we will see in the season." READ : TEXAS A&M.
- On how the quarterback reps are distributed and who looked good during the scrimmage - A.J. has taken 90% of the reps with the first team, while Blake Sims has taken the other 10%. Luke Del Rio got a shot as the third QB today, while Alec Morris got the chance to play third string QB in last week's scrimmage. Saban went on to talk a bit about Blake Sims, saying that his biggest problem is forcing the ball. He "played pretty well" today, but had three interceptions, all of which came on what Saban called "hope throws. The guy really wasn't open, but he was just hoping that a guy was gonna make a play." I'm baffled by this. We're talking about a fourth year player making this inexcusable mistake (particularly in Saban's system) not once, but THREE times in a single scrimmage. I stumped hard for Sims back in the spring, but now nothing would scare me more than seeing number 6 take the field. Saban's comments make it perfectly clear that Sims is our number 2, which unfortunately has to be interpreted as a commentary on the readiness of the guys behind him.
- On the offensive line - "well, I wasn't real pleased with the way they played today, to be honest with you."
- On the leading contenders at punt return and kick return - Cyrus Jones, Christion Jones, Dee Hart, DeAndrew White (KR only), Chris Black (both), Amari Cooper (both). Good Lord, we better not put Cooper back to field any kicks of any sort.
- On Deion Belue (hamstring) - Deion has been gradually increasing his reps.
- On the pass rush today - "I think we have a long way to go on the pass rush. It's inconsistent." Welp. There's no way to read these comment and not think that the sack production today was anything positive. If the pass rush wasn't even that good, and they got four sacks (that we know of), I'm starting to get unsure about our offensive line.
- On LaMichael Fanning being back at defensive end - it sounds like Fanning is back on the defensive line for good. Alternately, Brandon Green (OL) has been playing tight end for a few days, and it sounds like he's going to stick there. Should be a killer goalline set.
Video of the conference below: