Crimson Tide begins preparations for Gators in “The Swamp”

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Margo Smith

Tight ends coach Bobby Williams watches players run through drills during Monday’s practice. / CW | Margo Smith

O.P. Galt IV

The Alabama Crimson Tide football team began practice this week in preparation for Saturday’s game in “The Swamp” against the Florida Gators. With all of the speed Florida presents, head coach Nick Saban spoke about the importance of players making sure they focus on making themselves better and having consistency in the way they play.

“I think the focus for the players should be, ‘what can I do to be a better player,” Saban said, “and what do I need to do to help myself be a more consistent player, play smarter, as well as make my unit more effective by more consistency’ and everybody doing their job together so that we don’t have any negative plays, bad plays, missed assignments, things that we control.”

 

Saban on facing former assistant

            Saban will see a familiar face wearing a headset across the field on Saturday when the Crimson Tide team faces Florida head coach Will Muschamp and his Gators in “The Swamp.” Coach Muschamp joined Coach Saban’s staff at LSU in 2001 as a linebacker coach and rose to defensive coordinator for the 2002 season, where he remained until the end of the 2004 season. He left LSU to be the defensive coordinator for Coach Saban’s Miami Dolphins for the 2005 season, his only season with the Dolphins, and returned to the college game in 2006 and has since coached at the college level.

“Will is a good coach because he is a great teacher,” Saban said. “He is a really hard worker. He’s got about as much passion and enthusiasm as anybody that you are ever going to be around and he relates well with the players. I think the players sort of feed off of his passion and enthusiasm in terms of the way he coaches and what he does. He believes in the fundamentals – discipline, hard work, commitment – those types of things that I think are sort of fundamental to being successful and he’s always done a great job.”

 

Florida speed presents challenges

The Alabama defense will be tested this Saturday by Florida’s two speedster running backs, Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. Rainey has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the Gators last three games, and Demps is a track star who spent his summer running sprints in Europe. Alabama redshirt junior linebacker Dont’a Hightower spoke on the speed Florida has in its offense.

“Those guys from Florida are arguably one of the fastest teams in the country, but hopefully we will be able to contain those guys and keep those guys running east and west instead of north and south,” Hightower said. “It’s going to be a really good game. It’s always a good game when Alabama and Florida come out.”

 

Injury Report

Coach Saban talked about the injury status of sophomore linebacker C. J. Mosley and sophomore running back Eddie Lacy.

“From an injuries standpoint, C. J. Mosley probably will not practice today and will be out for a couple days for sure, and probably is questionable for this game, at this point,” Saban said. “Eddie Lacy will probably not do much today. But, he should progress as the week goes on and should be OK for the game.”