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Press Conference Recap | 8.25

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Billy and David give their take on Nick Saban's weekly Monday press conference

It is a Monday, which means there is a press conference at which Nick Saban speaks. Granted it is impossible to learn much, because Saban is the master at answering questions with no answers, making up metaphors on the spot, and giving depth charts which he subsequently says shouldn't be taken too literally (which we will do regardless.) In any event, here is our recap on this week's Monday press conference.

Weekly Saban Wardrobe Watch: Nick Saban is looking sharp, very clean cut. He has a coke to his right, which while I personally prefer Pepsi, I'm guessing those cute polar bears commercials have really touched Saban. He has on a nice blue collared shirt with a very subtle stripe pattern. No undershirt, so really letting the chest hair flow as someone like Saban can do with full confidence and no care. He is finally wearing navy pants and some nice brown dress shoes with no socks, which is a bold choice for someone who walks that much throughout the day, but I like it.

NOTES from the Presser

  • Nick Saban opens by delineating the same points of focus he's spoken of in the summer: Who are we as a team and the importance of creating an identity and sense of purpose. Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Nick Saban.
  • Saban sees West Virginia as having a dangerous ability to score, although he admits they have not usually scored enough to win. That could be an important key to the game Saturday.
  • Saban speaks of fond memories growing up in West Virginia, a time much simpler where he listened to Mountaineer games on a brown transistor radio and wasn't asked each week if Kenyan Drake would get the ball more.
  • Speaking of his fondness for West Virginia football, he further states that now he is Alabama's head coach and is an Alabama fan. Albeit, one who doesn't leave after halftime.
  • Someone asked if there were any players or anyone not going to the game. Nick Saban responds that for sure he and his wife Terry are going to the game. We can all breath a sigh of relief.
  • Saban states the importance of the team using this game to create a "winning rhythm." I think this is what he has in mind:

Mwvcq14_medium

  • Saban says the team is thin at middle linebacker. Apparently Trey Depriest, Reggie Ragland, and Reuben Foster need to join O.J. Howard on the ice cream diet.
  • Speaking of Reuben Foster, Saban states that the main reason he kept getting banged up in practice was he didn't know how to tackle correctly. Now that he knows how to tackle properly, he can play the game without injuries. It seems that more teams need to get on this.
  • Saban states this is the first time he has ever had a freshman starting at left tackle. After a quick look at all of Saban's past teams, I can confirm in fact Toledo has a football program (quick shout out to former Alabama player Phillip Ely who was named as their starter).
  • When asked about Bradley Sylve and Cyrus Jones getting comfortable at the cornerback position, Saban said that they recruited both guys to play corner, but if a player has a desire to play something else, then they will allow the player to play that position. So essentially, in the end, Nick Saban always gets what he wants.
  • On the all important quarterback front, Saban states they have not decided if both quarterbacks will be playing Saturday. Saban pretty much repeated what he has in the past in that Blake Sims looks more comfortable and confident with the system and has a better command of the offense. He also stated that Jacob Coker doesn't have the knowledge or the experience, and wants to see more confidence. "Confidence and knowledge go hand in hand and it is almost stupid to think otherwise. A'ight." A'ight coach, A'ight.
  • Saban says that he doesn't like to interfere with the original play calls of the offensive coordinators. Compares coordinators to players in that they can get into a play calling rhythm. Hmm...Lane Kiffin and rhythm. I think I know what he means:

Lane-kiffin-dancing-o_medium

Also the first official depth chart was released today. Immediately afterward, Saban says he doesn't like giving the media a depth chart because we take it too literally. Which I am personally offended by that statement as Saban continues to belittle the authenticity of the hard working and perpetual entity that is the Alabama sports media, without whom Saban would not have as many five star recruits to throw out on special teams. By the way, I can't believe that we are starting 15 players at one time on defense. I guess Scott Cochran has a hell of a gene splicing program that we don't know about.

Quick Notes on the Depth Chart:

  • The three deep depth chart includes 14 true freshman and 6 early enrollees. This includes starters Cam Robinson at Left Tackle and JK Scott at Punter.
  • Don't overreact to A'Shawn Robinson starting at nose guard with Brandon Ivory as the backup. Normally in a base-set formation Robinson would be starting at a 5-technique (DE) with Brandon Ivory at nose to combat more run based offenses. In Nickel sets (which Alabama will primarily be in against West Virginia) Robinson moves to a 3-technique as you see on the depth chart with Allen/Tolminson starting at end to get more athleticism on the line. Overall the defensive line looks to be much deeper and more formidable then in past years.
  • There's a lot of youth in the linebacking core with both Rashaan Evans and Christian Miller listed as backups to Denzell Devall and Dillon Lee at the SAM linebacker position. Fellow freshman Shaun Dion Hamilton is the backup to Trey DePriest and Reuben Foster at MIKE Linebacker as well.
  • Something to watch out for is the fact Reuben Foster is listed as a co-starter at both the MIKE and WILL linebacker positions. I think for sure Foster will contribute a lot in Dime if not Nickel sets because of his play-making ability and speed.
  • Continuing on that, it is very possible DePriest loses his spot in the starting lineup. It speaks a lot to the fact that Saban didn't bring him to SEC Media Days (when he was the obvious pick), the fact he is not listed as a solo starter on the depth chart, and the fact Saban has stated that he is working his way back into shape.
  • Expect to see Geno Smith be more involved in dime sets, as he can play the dollar position and the star if needed along with safety.
  • Ross Pierschbacher is projected as the backup Left Guard. Recent scrimmage reports are that he has been the backup at Left Tackle, so it seems that with Dominick Jackson back in the fold, it is very possible that Cam Robinson could be challenged at that spot this year if he struggles.
  • There is a three-way tie at the backup fullback position. Honestly, I think Saban just wanted to be able to list Corey McCarron on the depth chart.
  • It looks like we may or may not find out who is starting at quarterback for the next couple days and or weeks. Until then, get used to seeing Sims and Coker as co-starters.

Offense



QB
Blake Sims/ 14 Jacob Coker
11 Alec Morris
18 Cooper Bateman
12 David Cornwell

RB
T.J. Yeldon
27 Derrick Henry
17 Kenyan Drake
20 Tyren Jones/28 Altee Tenpenny

WR (X)
Amari Cooper
13 ArDarius Stewart
80 Raheem Falkins/7 Cam Sims

WR (Z)
DeAndrew White
Robert Foster

WR (H)
22 Christion Jones
Chris Black

LT
74 Cam Robinson
76 Dominick Jackson

LG
77 Arie Kouandjio
71 Ross Pierschbacher

C
70 Ryan Kelly
75 Bradley Bozeman/67 Josh Casher

RG
50 Alphonse Taylor
72 Leon Brown

RT
79 Austin Shepherd
64 Grant Hill

TE
84 Brian Vogler/88 O.J. Howard
94 Dakota Ball
83 Ty Flournoy-Smith
85 Malcom Faciane

H-back
45 Jalston Fowler
46 Michael Nysewander/41 Kurt Frietag/47 Corey McCarron


Defense

DE
94 Jonathan Allen/54 Dalvin Tomlinson
52 Dee Liner

DE
57 D.J. Pettway
Da'Shawn Hand/90 Jarran Reed

NG
86 A'Shawn Robinson
95 Darren Lake/99 Brandon Ivory
69 Joshua Frazier

SAM
30 Denzel Devall
25 Dillon Lee
32 Rashaan Evans/34 Christian Miller

JACK
47 Xzavier Dickson
Ryan Anderson

MLB
33 Trey DePriest/10 Reuben Foster
11 Shaun Dion Hamilton

WILL
18 Reggie Ragland/10 Reuben Foster
35 Walker Jones

CB
Cyrus Jones
Tony Brown/4 Eddie Jackson

CB
16 Bradley Sylve
21 Maurice Smith/29 Marlon Humphrey

FS
27 Nick Perry/24 Geno Smith
23 Jabriel Washington

SS
26 Landon Collins
20 Jarrick Williams
6 Hootie Jones



Special Teams

Punter
15 JK Scott
11 Alec Morris

Kicker
99 Adam Griffith
15 JK Scott

Long Snapper
55 Cole Mazza
50 M.K. Taylor/46 Michael Nysewander

Holder
18 Cooper Bateman
11 Alec Morris

KOR
22 Christion Jones and 2 De'Andrew White
5 Cyrus Jones and 26 Landon Collins

PR
22 Christion Jones
5 Cyrus Jones