Five quick hits from Nick Saban’s weekly Monday press conference:
1. Alabama hasn’t faced Georgia since 2008, but Nick Saban said Monday that UGA head coach Mark Richt’s philosophy hasn’t changed much, therefore the Crimson Tide isn’t completely in the dark when preparing this week.
“Even though it is different and they do have different players…it’s not like this is something we’ve never seen before,” Saban said. “Sometimes when you play a new opponent that you have never played before and it’s a new staff, it’s a little bit different. You don’t have the same history to call on. I don’t know that it’s that much different, to be honest with you.”
2. Saban said Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, who is top 3 in the SEC in tackles for loss and sacks, is physical, instinctive and one of the best defensive players in the country.
“You certainly have to have a plan to help the players that have to block him so that hopefully he can’t just get in one-on-one situations where it’s a difficult circumstance for somebody,” Saban said. “There have been games this year where he has made a phenomenal amount of plays, whether its sacks, causing fumbles.”
3. With defensive coordinator Kirby Smart recently being named assistant coach of the year by the AFCA, and with all the job openings available in the SEC, Saban was asked what his policy is when another school calls him to ask permission to speak to one of his assistant coaches.
“Nobody’s called,” he said. “But if they do, I always talk to the person and let them know that somebody’s expressed interest. We want our assistant coaches to be able to fulfill the goals and aspirations that they have. The reason that they do a good job for you is so that they may create an opportunity for themselves as a head coach, unless somebody just doesn’t want to be a head coach. I was that way when I was an assistant.
“I’m always in a position to try to help them do what they would like to do.”
Saban said that in the past, when his assistants were approached before the bowl season, they’ve been able to be professional and stay focused on the task at hand before delving into another opportunity.
4. Saban said T.J. Yeldon, who sprained his foot a couple weeks ago, is fine.
“I think he was at 100 percent [against Auburn],” he said. “I think guys at this time of the year are a little banged and bruised, especially running backs.”
5. With Kenny Bell going down with a broken leg Saturday, Alabama’s wide receiving corps took another hit. It will be about 5-6 weeks before Bell can be evaluated again. Saban said now they will need more guys to be ready to play and step up.
“[Chris Black] has been practicing for three weeks now,” he said. “He’s been cleared, so we’re going to try to get him some reps because we’re getting down to where we only have maybe five guys that have much experience at the position. We still feel good about the guys that we have.
“You’d like to be able to roll guys in and out and that position. Guys get a little winded at times, especially when they run a lot of deep routes or when you go two-minute or something. We definitely need to get more guys ready to play. It’s going to create an opportunity for some other people.”
Those people being Black, Marvin Shinn and Cyrus Jones.
For more Alabama coverage, follow Laken Litman on Twitter!