NFL

Irked Saban questions Crimson Tide’s ‘intensity’

  • Covers the SEC.
  • Joined ESPN in 2012.
  • Graduate of Auburn University.

An obviously frustrated Alabama coach Nick Saban said on Wednesday that his team still has a lot to prove after it beat Miami 44-13 in its season opener last week.

Saban harkened back to his “rat poison” comments from 2017 and said the top-ranked Crimson Tide didn’t come out prepared to practice Monday. He questioned whether that was because they didn’t respect their upcoming opponent, Mercer, which competes in the FCS.

“Or maybe it’s what they read on social media or in the media or whatever after one half of a game this season,” he said. “And then it was hot yesterday, so we have every external factor in the world that’s affecting our ability to maintain intensity and play the way we need to play and practice the way we need to practice to improve.

“The scoreboard affects us. Who we’re playing affects us. The heat affects us. The media and what you guys write every day affects us. So, to me, we have to prove we can play and maintain intensity … and do things the way we’re supposed to do it.”

It has become somewhat commonplace for Saban to go on a tirade during the week Alabama plays lower-level FBS and FCS opponents.

In 2015, prior to a game against Georgia Southern, he went on his now-infamous rant about how “Georgia Southern ran through us like s— through a tin horn” four years earlier.

Perhaps sensing too much confidence from his team after such a dominating win over Miami, Saban pointed out how Alabama didn’t play a full 60 minutes in the game and how the score during the second half was much closer, 17-10 in favor of the Tide.

Asked how his team leaders responded to a lackluster practice on Monday, Saban said, “We’ll see.”

“Do people care enough to understand what we have to do to maintain our intensity for 60 minutes in the game, to improve as a team, to do the things that we need to do to improve as a team,” he asked. “Do we have the depth that we need to have? You know, we’ve got some guys that are doing the right things and they’re trying to set a good example and they’re trying to pull other guys along. But we also have other guys that need to pick it up and understand what it takes to practice, what it takes to prepare.

“You know, some people have the idea that exertion through the course of the week in some kind of way impairs your ability to play on Saturday, all right? But really, you gotta have exertion through the week to be ready to play on Saturday, and the key to that is, how do you take care of yourself? How do you recover? How do you sleep? How do you hydrate? How do you use the Sports Science Center and all the technology we have to help guys recover so that you’re gonna be good on Saturday? You know, I think we got some guys that got it backwards, and we’re trying to get it fixed.”

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