Saban, Tide focuses on mental toughness
The Alabama football team finished its 20th practice of the year Tuesday after taking a two-day break from its last scrimmage. Head coach Nick Saban said while the rest was good for the players, he still sees opportunities for improvement. “This is the time that you start to try to get your players back,” Saban said. “But at the same time there’s a lot of fundamental improvement that we need to make.” Saban also said his team needed to maintain its intensity and mental toughness through practices.
“We need more guys to finish and compete and be responsible,” Saban said. “We can’t develop the attitude that we’re going to endure practice. “That’s a dangerous place to go when you just start enduring practice instead of going out there with a purpose and improving on things you need to improve on.”
Offensive line key to Tide success
The offensive side of the ball for the Crimson Tide has to replace four big name starters from last year’s team that included three first round NFL picks and a two-year starter at quarterback. Still, junior running back Trent Richardson said he expects the offense to be fine behind the offense’s veterans. “Offensive leadership is going pretty good,” Richardson said. “Especially with [William] Vlachos, Barrett Jones, me myself included. We got Darius Hanks and Brandon Gibson over there making sure we keep the offense going.”
Richardson said one of the greatest assets for the offense this year is the veteran offensive line and powerful running game. Despite moving players around on the line, Richardson said the line will be able to open up plays for the rest of the offense. “The coaching staff here, they move [the offensive line] around pretty good,” Richardson said. “So we’re just really going along with the flow…. Everybody’s doing good, especially with the offensive line.”
Michael Williams ready to make “big plays”
With Alabama breaking in new starters in key offensive positions this year, junior tight end Michael Williams said he is ready to step up and make big plays for the offense. “I see my role being pretty big,” Williams said. “I mean, I have to make plays for our team now, and not just block. I’ll try to do that to the best of my ability…. I think I’m the main tight end on the line now. I’ll try to get a little vertical push down the field more often.”
Williams said he’s been doing more than ever in the offseason to help prepare himself for this year. “Everyday, [I’m] working with AJ [McCarron] and [Phillip] Sims, getting the timing right, doing more jugs, doing more passing scales,” Williams said. “Just trying to spend more time with that. I’m gonna make plays, and big plays at that.”
Apart from the quarterbacks, no players wore black non-contact jerseys during drills.
Junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones practiced at left tackle during line drills. He drilled with Chance Warmack, William Vlachos and D.J. Fluker.
Wide receivers Marquis Maze, Darius Hanks, Brandon Gibson and Kenny Bell competed in the first two groups during receiving drills.