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:
- 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:
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.