Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Quick Hits: Saban's pre-LSU press conference

For the first time since August, Alabama football didn’t play Saturday. Instead, it enjoyed its only bye week of the season.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said it was a productive bye week but now it’s time to refocus on the task at hand which is LSU.

The Tigers come in with an undefeated record and the best running back in the conference, Leonard Fournette. The sophomore has 1,352 yards rushing, best in the country. He averages 7.7 yards a carry and has 15 touchdowns.

“We thought he was a fabulous player in high school, the No. 1 running back in the country,” Saban said. “And I think bigger than that, my opinion of him is that he was a really, really fine young man, great family. It’s no surprise to me that the guy has developed into one of the premier players in the country and arguably the best running back in the country.”

Alabama’s own running back Derrick Henry is ninth in the country in yards rushing with 1,044. He has 14 rushing touchdowns.

“Derrick has done an outstanding job for us,” Saban said. “He’s had a fantastic year. I don’t think you can say enough about the way he’s played and how he’s shown great competitive character and been very productive not only in the way he’s carried the ball but in pass protection, the things he’s done without the ball.”

Henry’s abilities beyond running the ball have helped first-year quarterback Jake Coker in settling in. Coker’s own experiences under center this year have helped him grow, Saban said.

“Obviously knowledge and experience is always going to make you better, going to make you more confident,” Saban said. “You know how to prepare better. You have more poise when you’re playing. So I think all those things are important.”

But Alabama has to stop LSU’s passing game too, led by Brandon Harris. Harris hasn’t thrown an interception and averages nearly 8.6 yards per attempt.

“They’ve made a lot of explosive plays in the passing game and I think they’ve taken advantage of what people are trying to do to stop the run, whether it’s eight-man fronts and middle-of-the-field throws in coverage, when you have single coverage outside and they’ve been able to take advantage of that and make some big plays,” Saban said. 

On top of stopping Fournette and scoring on LSU’s defense, the game is considered by many to be a rivalry. Certainly, both teams being ranked in the top 10 doesn’t hurt that reputation. Saban said the rivalry is a credit to both programs.

“This game is about our players and our team and our program,” Saban said. “It has nothing to do with me in terms of any past experience that I’ve had, and my goal is to do the best job that we can as coaches and a coaching staff in preparing our players to play the best that they can all season long. That’s really what it’s all about for me, because every player on this team has worked very, very hard to put themselves in position where they have the opportunity to play against a great team and the game has a tremendous amount of significance for all the things that they’ve worked for all year long. That’s much bigger than anything else that could be considered in this game.”

No. 7 Alabama (7-1, 4-1 SEC) hosts No. 4 LSU (8-0, 4-0 SEC) this Saturday.

More to Discover