Five quick hits from Nick Saban’s weekly Monday presser:
1. Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Monday that all players who sustained injuries against Missouri—quarterback A.J. McCarron, wide receiver Christion Jones and running back Eddie Lacy—are “OK.”
He said McCarron has a bruised knee and is still sore, Jones has a sprained ankle and is day-to-day, and Lacy hurt his hand, but there’s nothing to be worried about.
“We have our nicks and bruises like everybody does this time of the year,” Saban said. “We just need to manage through that and do the best we can to prepare for this game.”
2. Redshirt freshman defensive end LaMichael Fanning was called for a personal foul late in Saturday’s game when he body slammed Missouri running back Russell Hansbrough. Fanning was called for unsportsmanlike conduct because he picked Hansbrough up, flipped him over backwards and threw him to the ground.
There hasn’t been any word from the SEC regarding a possible suspension, but Saban said they have dealt with the situation in-house. Fanning has written letters of apology to the player and to Tigers’ head coach Gary Pinkel.
“I think this is a young player who’s excited about getting into the game, makes a very, very poor decision and judgment on making that play,” Saban said. “It’s something that we don’t condone here. It’s not how we want our players to play.
“I think he understands what he did was not done in the right way in terms of being a strong competitor and we are managing internally things for him to do to make better choices and decisions in the future. All young people, when they make mistakes, that’s what you really want to try to do.”
3. The initial BCS standings came out Sunday night and Alabama is ranked No. 1. The Crimson Tide also has the country’s top defense and leads in almost every statistical category. Although Saban was smiling during his interview on ESPN, he doesn’t want to discuss the rankings any further because that’s now where his focus is.
“Our focus is on what we need to do to play well in this game,” he said. “None of that other stuff matters. It only matters at the end.
“I’m concerned about reacting to challenges properly, not what we’ve done last week or the week before. So I’d appreciate it if we don’t have to talk about that anymore. Where we’re ranked, what we’re doing or what we did. I’m looking at what we’re going to do, if that’s OK.”
4. Saban admitted after Saturday’s 42-10 victory over Missouri that he didn’t do a good enough job getting his team’s intensity up after the 38-minute rain delay. Monday he said he felt bad about it.
“Well, I tried to fire myself this week,” he said. “When we were in the locker room, you can only go with what you see. We had told the players before because we anticipated that this might happen, this is exactly how we want to handle a rain delay. They handled it well in the locker room. We had great focus, great attention to detail. We were going over all the things like it was halftime, and everybody had the right look in their eye and all that kind of thing.
“Obviously we didn’t come out and play with the same kind of energy and intensity. Then when you take a shot as soon as you go out there and they had a kickoff return for a touchdown. We didn’t respond to that very well. There was a combination of things. I’m responsible. I need to do a better job if it. I feel bad about it.”
5. When Jones went down with a sprained ankle Saturday, true freshman Cyrus Jones took his place at receiver and kick returner. Saban was asked if he plans to do anything to add more depth to that position. The Tide has taken a bit of a hit out wide, having lost Chris Black and DeAndrew White.
“We only have what we have,” he said. “We don’t have a waiver wire. We can’t pick up anybody. I was trying to check for it on my desk this morning—I couldn’t find it.
“We’ve lost quite a few players at that position, so it’s going to create opportunities for other players to step up and play well.”
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