Alabama begins preparing for season opener against Duke

Christopher Walsh

Nick Saban’s opening comments from his press conference Thursday:

“We started work today on Duke, really for the first time. We used a couple of days this week to really focus on improving and how much we can improve and had each coach on the staff do a little mini-scenario for each player as to what we really need to focus on. We did some work on next year’s opponents, but now that we start for Duke, the big question is, what kind of identity is this team going to create for itself, in terms of what they want to accomplish, the standard that they do it to. It’s not always about whether you won or lost but how did you win? It’s just how did you play? What is your reputation as a player?

“And I think questions that players should ask is, did I play well? Was I accountable to do what I was supposed to do? Did the guy next to me play well. Because, you know, football is a funny game. Ten guys can do what they’re supposed to do and if one guy doesn’t the play doesn’t work. The quarterback gets sacked. Somebody is wide open on defense to make a big play. So everybody’s got to do their job. It’s a great team game, and if you don’t want to play it as a team game, then you can go play tennis or golf where it’s just about you. And those are great games and I love them both. And can we win as a team? Can everybody put the team first, play together, do what they have to do to support each other so that we can have great team chemistry. And do we have enough tough guys that are really warrior types in terms of how they compete on a consistent basis so we can sustain the season. That’s really where we’re at. This is the first opportunity this team has to be judged as to how they play and who they are so we’ve got lots of work to do, but we’re certainly interested in finding out like a lot of other folks probably are.”