Nick Saban doesn’t do expectations. So he didn’t “expect” anything when he signed Isaiah Buggs in his 2017 recruiting class as a junior college transfer.

Hope, though, is another word entirely. It wouldn’t be fair to insinuate that he hoped Buggs could contribute to the defensive line this year.

To that end, Buggs is making progress.

Two scrimmages in, the 6-foot-5, 292-pounder is still learning the Alabama way. But he’s showing promise.

“I think he’s gotten better every practice,” Saban said after Friday’s scrimmage. “I think discipline to play this kind of defense where everybody has a job to do and it’s important for you to do your job and stay in your gap and play your gap, I think some of that stuff is a little new to him. But I think his effort has gotten better and better, he’s getting in better condition and I think he’s played better each day.

“We’ve still got to improve on certain things from a discipline…I’m not talking about discipline personally, I’m talking about discipline to do your job all the time, rather than always trying to make the play. There’s a difference in that. You always want to try to make the play but you’ve got to make the play doing your job. That’s what we continue to work on.”

His fellow defensive lineman, Da’Shawn Hand, and an offensive lineman he goes up against, Jonah Williams, both said he’s good. That’s not earth-shattering because UA only recruits the best of the best.

In his only appearance in front of reporters during his time of campus, Buggs labeled Alabama great.

“Great process. Great learning process. Great school. Great coaches. Everything I dreamed of before I got here,” Buggs said.

Back to that scary word “expectation,” Buggs said he didn’t coming in expecting anything. Also, he admitted Saban never promised anything.

He said if the young guys come in and take the older guy’s spot, oh well,” Buggs said. “Nothing’s guaranteed for anybody. Coming in, fighting, pushing hard for a starting spot and not to see it happen, as long as I keep my head up and do what I’m supposed to do on and off the field it’ll happen.”

As for the word “hope,” Buggs hopes he has a major role this year. The defensive line would be better if that comes to fruition.

“…I know of some things that I can get better on even though I kind of came in ahead, because of junior college, and they’re already looking for me to be prepped up and prepared and ready to play,” he said. “If they bring in a junior college guy in they expect him to already be prepared. They don’t want to have to go back and teach him all over again.”

Reach Aaron Suttles at or at 205-722-0229.