Saban challenges his team to finish strong as Spring Practice enters final stretch
As Alabama football prepares for the final stretch of Spring Practice, head coach Nick Saban wants to see his players dialed-in to an even greater degree.
“We’ve gotta eliminate mental errors,” Saban said following Wednesday’s practice. “Too many times, guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do and it leads to negative plays. So we’re constantly trying to teach guys cause and effect. When you do this and you don’t do it right, this is what happens. If you do it right, this is what happens. And we have to get more consistency in performance, and I think it goes back to sustaining and maintaining intensity the same way you have to finish a play so that we eliminate mental errors, everybody can do their job and we can play better as a team.”
Alabama will hold its 11th practice of the spring on Friday before holding scrimmage No. 2 on Saturday inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. It’s been slightly more than a week since the first scrimmage so working out in the stadium is not completely unfamiliar. That doesn’t mean he wants his team to be comfortable.
“What’s the fundamental difference in Scrimmage 1 and Scrimmage 2? What’s the fundamental difference between Game 1 and Game 2,” Saban said. “Game 1 is the most important game when we’re playing Game 1 just like Scrimmage 1 is the most important scrimmage when it’s Scrimmage 1. And Scrimmage 2, just Game 2, is the most important game when you’re playing Game 2. So Scrimmage 2 is the most important scrimmage when Scrimmage 2 comes up.”
Saban said there will be some differences on Saturday that were not in place in last week’s scrimmage. He left open the possibility that coaches may be stationed upstairs in the press box, sending in the play-call just how it will come during the season.
“But in terms of teaching progression, trying to get the players ready to do what we’re going to do in that particular scrimmage, it doesn’t really change a lot,” Saban said. “The points of emphasis may change a bit, but our approach to it doesn’t change much at all.”
Those points of emphasis are based largely on effort; the effort to finish plays and maintain good intensity.