A standard surrounds Alabama football. Lately, it has been publicly dubbed the “Alabama factor.” But, regardless of what it’s called, Alabama coach Nick Saban expects his players to live up to it.
So, when the Crimson Tide held its second spring scrimmage Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium, what Saban saw made it clear who on his team understands that standard and what it truly entails.
“The guys that have played around here and been good players know how to compete,” Saban said. “They’ve been in big arenas before. They have mental toughness. They play with discipline. We have high expectation for how those guys play, and those guys don’t disappoint us. And they didn’t disappoint us today.
“But the big thing we wanted to see today is we have a lot of young players on our team that have a chance to contribute to the team and play winning football.”
It’s their turn not to disappoint, and it doesn’t sound like their holding up their end of the bargain so far.
Saban was happy with the first-teamers on both sides of the ball. Beyond that, there’s “a lot of work to do.” Alabama needs to develop and strengthen its depth offensively and defensively.
“Now I haven’t watched the film yet, but I wasn’t pleased with the way some of those guys made improvement and came along,” Saban said. “Look, it’s a work in progress. So wherever they are, we’re going to keep working with them to try to get them where they need to be, but we were hopeful that we would make a little more progress.”
The Crimson Tide has two more spring practices left – Tuesday and Thursday – before it heads back to Bryant-Denny Stadium for its A-Day game Saturday at 1 p.m. Then, it won’t have any actual competition until Aug. 31 when Alabama officially opens up its 2019 season against Duke in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
By then, there will some even newer faces on the Crimson Tide. The only 2019 signees on campus right now are the early enrollees. There are even more to come.
Competition is far from over.
“We’ve got nine players coming on defense and three more guys coming in on offense, and all of those guys are going to get every shot over the summer and fall camp to be able to compete with the guys that are here,” Saban said. “So, nobody’s going to be entitled to anything when it comes to next fall.”
Reach Terrin Waack at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.