Nick Saban addressed the media Wednesday afternoon, following the completion of the eighth practice of the spring. Fortunately for the Tide faithful, Saban's tone was a bit different than the dour assessment delivered this past Saturday. Saban started the conference by praising the quality of the last two practices, in which it sounds like the team was looking forward a bit to future opponents: "...starting to look at a lot of things that we may not see from our offense that our opponents will give us next year" Read - PREP FOR TEXAS A&M;
For the first time that I can ever remember, it sounds like Saban is struggling a bit to find the right "button" to motivate this team, as his preferred tool of using prior losses to spur the team seems ill-suited for the situation. There is no '08 Sugar bowl or '10 Iron Bowl to stoke the fires this year. Yes, last year's team failed to keep a perfect record, but they still won their division, conference, and the national crown. This team, more than any other that Saban has ever coached, will have to be fueled by something else.
Some quick hitters from the press conference:
- Trickle-down effects of DePriest's injury - Ryan Anderson got some playing time at inside in the base defense and Dillon Lee was playing "nicklebacker" in nickle
- Regarding the "floating three" - Dee Hart is back practicing with the offense, Christion Jones is playing both ways, and Cyrus seems to be making enough strides to think he'll stick at DB.
- Saban discussed his experience of coaching both from the sidelines and from the booth, as well as his strategy for which coaches are in the booth or on the field. He also shared a funny tidbit that he used to sit on the calls on the sideline until the last possible second, so Bellichick didn't have a chance to think about the call and trump it.
- Regarding the offensive line - "I like the way that the offensive line is progressing". When discussing the newcomers, Saban's comments seemed to confirm that the line is mostly set, with the only position that is truly, completely up in the air being right tackle.
- Regarding Dalvin Tomlinson - it sounds like Dalvin has progressed a great deal, and he's on the cusp of playing as a quasi-first stringer
- Regarding KR and PR - it sounds like Dee Hart is going to be the go to guy until he loses the position
- Regarding injuries - DePriest has a stress fracture in his foot. He'll take the rest of the spring off to heal up for fall practice. Wilson Love is out with a concussion and will stay out until his concussion test scores improve.
Video of the press conference below: