Alabama’s football players get the weekend off, but not before getting in some work. The Crimson Tide had three days of practice, finishing Thursday with full gear work in the indoor practice facility. Players were to have a weight-lifting session on Friday, then get the weekend off since number two ranked Bama is not playing a game Saturday.
Alabama, 8-0 overall and 5-0 in Southeastern Conference play, returns to action next Saturday, November 7, hosting LSU in Bryant-Denny Stadium. LSU is 6-1 overall and ranked ninth in the nation, the Tigers’ only loss to number one Florida. LSU is 4-1 in SEC games, making the Tide-Tigers contest key for the SEC Western Division championship. CBS will televise the game, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. CST.
Alabama senior defensive end Lorenzo Washington said Bama needed the bye week. “Every week we go in there and give it our all, and it’s been a tough season,” said the Loganville, Ga., native. “A lot of people have been nicked up. I don’t know when our bye week came last year, but I think it might have come a little earlier. And two years ago I think we had two bye weeks.”
Washington said Alabama players are not thinking about being 8-0. “Coach (Nick) Saban wants to make it a four-game season,” Washington said. “It’s like we’re 0-0 and playing Virginia Tech. We’re going out there with no record and playing LSU.”
Alabama played five consecutive SEC games before getting the open date. “It’s tough playing any SEC opponent any time,” Washington said. “That’s top competition week-in and week-out. Tennessee (Bama’s last week opponent) is an incredible team and I think they are going to surprise some people down the stretch because they are better than their record. I said before last week’s game that Crompton (Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton) is a good quarterback. Take away some of the bad decisions in their early games, and their record would be a lot different.”
Washington said Alabama’s focus in practice in the open week was “on the fundamentals, getting back to the basics, getting healthy. We did some work correcting things that went wrong (against Tennessee), but that win is over with and we need to get back to the basics—throwing the football, running the football, blocking, tackling, getting off blocks—because that’s what football is.
“We need to do the things to get off the field on third downs. We’ve harped on rushing the passer, but we focus on that every week. That’s a part of getting back to basics.”
Washington said the focus is not on winning every game. “We focus on the opponent at hand,” he said.
Nor do Bama players think about a slip-up.
"We try not to think about that,” Washington said. “We just try to go out there and execute and do our job. I mean, if you went out there and thought about, ‘Oh my God, we’re number one, we can’t do this, we can‘t do that,’ you would lose. That’s what happens. When you focus too much on worrying about losing, you will lose. You need to worry about going out there and doing your job to the best of your ability and then if everyone does that as a team, we should come out with a win."
Washington said this year is different from 2008, when Bama went 12-0 in regular season before finishing 12-2.
“Last year we were the underdogs,” he said. “Now we’re not underdogs. The target is on us more.”
But, he said, the Tide must continue to improve. “We haven’t played a perfect game yet,” he said. “There are still errors we make, still missed tackles, still little things we can improve on and get better. So I think we still have room to improve and I think we’re still growing as a team."