Saban Says Bama Must Regain Identity

Gene Stallings

The Alabama football team returned to the fields on Wednesday, working for two hours in full pads at the Thomas-Drew practice fields. Bama is working towards its second scrimmage of the spring, which will be Saturday, and a former Tide Coach Gene Stallings will be on hand during late week preparation.



It was the 10th practice of the spring and second of the week. Alabama will hold one more practice this week on Friday, which is usually a polish session before the Saturday scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The Tide will also hold its annual coaching clinic this week, which begins on Thursday and wraps up with Saturday's scrimmage. There will be a heavy Crimson Tide influence, including former Tide Coach Gene Stallings, a Hall of Famer; former player and assistant coach and current Tennessee Titans Running Backs Coach Sylvester Croom, and former Alabama player and current Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Chance Warmack.. Also slated to be on hand for the 2014 clinic is the Alabama staff, Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, Baylor Coach Art Briles, Baltimore Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees, and Seattle Seahawks Special Teams Coordinator Brian Schneider.

The clinic is primarily for high school coaches. Alabama Coach Nick Saban said the lecturers "will also include Some very good high school coaches.

"We've tried to do the best we can every year with our clinic because it's our one opportunity to put on a great professional sort of sharing with high school coaches and other coaches around the country who do a lot to help develop players, which really helps us in terms of recruiting and a lot of other things.

"This is our way to give them a thank you by trying to have a great clinic, so I hope we get a bunch of people here and have a great time with that, as well as continue to work on practicing and improving."

Alabama's 2014 A-Day Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. (CDT) inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. The A-Day Game is once again free to the public and will be televised live on ESPNU.

Saban said, "I don't really have anything new to say about the scrimmage. The players are working hard. I think at this point in spring practice what you look for is guys that can push through and sustain.

"I think you win games in February, March, April, June, July, summer conditioning program, winter conditioning program, spring practice. Because this is when guys learn how to push through the season. You develop the psychological endurance that you need so that you can endure the season.

"It's a long season, it's a tough season; it's difficult. And you've got to learn how to fight through it.

"This is the time in spring practice when you really look at the guys that, Do they have the maturity to do that? Can they do that?

"Alabama football's supposed to be a tough, physical team that nobody really likes to play against. That's been our identity.

"We've lost that identity a little bit, I think, the way we finished the year last year.

"That's something that we've got to get back, and it's hard, and you really can't make it easy.

"The players have got to really understand that and ask themselves who they are and who they want to be and what they want to do. It's important to finish the spring the right way. I liked the effort and the intensity and the enthusiasm in the last scrimmage, and hopefully we can have that same energy and enthusiasm and do a little bit better job of executing this scrimmage coming up."

Saban also said that this is a week in which Bama works on next year's opponents. "that do things differently than what we might see every day in practice from our own offense."

Although he said there was no new injury news, he reported that cornerback Eddie Jackson, who suffered a torn ACL in last week's scrimmage, had a good surgery. "We feel like we've got a really good chance to get him back for the season. He was having a great spring and doing a good job. This just gives some other people some opportunity to get some reps as well."

Saban confirmed the BamaMag.com report of a couple of weeks ago that former Washington Coach Tosh Lupoi would join the Bama staff as an intern who helps in recruiting. Lupoi was regarded as one of the top recruiters on the West Coast. He was not retained when Washington changed coaches this year.

Saban said, "He's got a lot of good experience both coaching and recruiting. He didn't get a job this year, didn't have any issues relative to the way we checked him out with the NCAA, which we do with everybody that we hire."

Lupoi can probably make it as an intern as he was given a $300,000 severance by Washington.

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