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Everything Nick Saban Said Ahead of Vanderbilt

Saban spoke with reporters one final time ahead of the Crimson Tide's game against the Commodores.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama head coach Nick Saban met with reporters one final time on Wednesday ahead of his team's game against Vanderbilt.

Stay tuned for live updates from Saban's press conference as well as a full transcript and video following.

Live Updates

  • Saban's press conference is slated to begin at approx. 6 p.m. CT.
  • Press conference has started. Saban said that players need to own up to their actions and decision in order to improve. "You then accumulate lessons learned."
  • Saban called this week's preparation "difficult" due to trying to create balance.
  • Amari Niblack is someone that Saban said the team is trying to utilize more and more.
  • Regarding his "hateful competitor" remarks from last week's Hey Coach, Saban said that he doesn't see a lot of that on this year's team and that needs to improve.
  • There's elements of option football in what Vanderbilt does, which Saban said is something that he doesn't see much of the time. He also noted that Vanderbilt is solid at throwing the ball.
  • "You either beat 'em on release, [...] and you teach them how to drop their weight and get out of the top," Saban said regarding how to teach receivers to create separation.
  • Aaron Anderson is practicing and is making progress, but Saban doesn't know when he will be ready to play. Officially listed as day-to-day.
  • The press conference is over.

Nick Saban Transcript - September 21, 2022

Opening statement...

"Obviously the big thing you want to do in practice each and every day is try to stack positive performance. I talked about that, so that focuses on improving every player to play better, and the way you do that, to me is you've got to own up to your actions and decisions. That's how you learn how to correct every mistake, every bad decision that you make. Then you accumulate lessons learned and those lessons learned help you perform better every day, execute, do your job better, and develop more confidence, so you're always playing better tomorrow. That's what we've tried to focus on this week. This is a little bit of a difficult preparation it's a little different kind of offense than what we've been seeing and our players really got to stay focused to be able to do it the right way. We're continuing to try to create the kind of balance we want on offense to be an explosive offensive team."

On what he has seen from Amari Niblack...

"He's a guy that we're trying to use more and more. The learning curve is always the issue with young players and being able to learn lessons, stack positive performances and be confident in more and more things that you can do. But definitely, a guy that we think can be a weapon for us on offense. He made a couple of good plays in the last game, and hopefully, we can build on that."

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On if he feels this team has "hateful competitors"...

"We have some guys that I think do a really really good job of creating a good example for how they practice, how they play, the mindset that they have, and the mental toughness that they have. I'm not going to start mentioning names, but I do think those guys impact other people on the team and I think it's important to have that. Attitudes are contagious, so when you've got guys on the team that do that I think that can become contagious as well. When you got negative people on your team, that can be contagious. I don't see a lot of that on this team. I see guys trying to do things the right way. We just have got to do a better job of executing."

On Vanderbilt's offense...

"I'll talk about their offense and I'll talk about what we're going to do. Do you want me to tell you what they're going to do so they know? I mean, I can just call their coaches and dial it up for you. There are elements of option football in what they do and that's not something that we see all the time. Our players got to have really disciplined eye control and when the point of attack moves, they gotta be able to adapt correctly and everybody play responsibility football, that's what it comes down to. They're very capable of throwing the ball as well, so you got to play good pass defense and not give up explosive plays when you're trying to do that."

On how you practice wide receivers getting separation...

"Well, we do a lot of one-on-one and we try to teach players a) there's two places that you're probably going to win on a route if you're getting man-to-man coverage, which I guess that's what you're talking about. You either beat 'em on release, so you teach guys several releases that can be effective for them relative to the route that they're running, and then you teach them how to drop their weight and get out of the break at the top of the route and try to keep the defender cut off. If you drift on the route, the defender can undercut you. So those are the two areas that you focus on the most when you're trying to create separation because that's really where you usually beat guys: you either beat them at the line, on the release or you beat them right out of the break, and those are the two areas that we try to focus on."

On DJ Dale calling Henry To'oTo'o a 'genius'...

"I thought you were going to ask how DJ Dale could really recognize a genius, but I get it."

(laughter from reporters)

"DJ is a good guy, I don't mean it that way but I was just kidding.

"Henry is just a really instinctive, smart football player but he does a really good job of preparing for games and I think Pete [Golding] does a really good job with the linebackers understanding how they fit relative to whatever the call is. Henry is one of those guys that gets it. He sees it almost like a coach. He's a great communicator, so I think because he makes calls up front that really makes the other part of the front seven feel more comfortable and confident in what they're doing and how we can execute together as a group."

On Tyler Steen's character and adapting to Alabama right away...

"Well Tyler is a bright guy, he's a hard worker, he's very steady in the way he goes about what he does, he's a good person — never had any issues or problems. I think he's really focused on trying to be a good player and I think the players here kind of embrace new guys and he's certainly the kind of guy that's easy to embrace because he's really got a positive personality and a fun guy to be around."

On Aaron Anderson's injury status...

"I really was hopeful that we could get through one deal without having an injury update.

"The guy's practicing. He's making progress. I don't know when he's going to be ready to play. I mean, that's a medical decision and he's gotta feel comfortable and confident that he's ready to go as well. So it's still kind of up in the air. Day-to-day. Thank you."