Hurricanes have hit areas that are home to Alabama players twice in the first two weeks of the season. The storms haven’t altered Alabama’s season, but they’ve still been in the minds of coach Nick Saban and many of his players.
“We have lots of friends at our place in Florida, so you kind of get the full feeling of anxiety that comes with all this,” Saban said on Monday. “Hopefully we’ll be able to do something to help some of those people as well.”
The athletic department gathered items for donation to victims of Hurricane Havey last week. Alabama also stepped and sent a private plane for the father of defensive back Tony Brown, who is from Beaumont, Texas.
Other schools around the country, including Florida, have had to cancel or reschedule games because of the storms.
“You’ve got to try to get people to separate focus on their family, but when they’re there for football and getting ready for the game, try to focus on that, knowing that they really can’t do anything about that part of it at that time,” Saban said. “We certainly respect that when they’re not there so that they support their family in every way that they can.”
Saban said he’d been through a similar situation while he was head coach of the Miami Dolphis. Hurricane Wilma made landfall in south Florida during the 2005 season, and Hurricane Ernesto hit just as the 2006 season was beginning.
“Your team gets disrupted with something that takes them out of their routine of how they practice every day, how they prepare every day. I think it makes it much more difficult for players not to get affected by external factors, and obviously a hurricane, because of how it affects people’s families and things like that, is something that affects people and rightfully so. It’s something they should be concerned about. So, I think the real challenge is to get the players to focus and not be affected by the disruption that something like this causes your routine.”
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.