Alabama players and coaches got a welcomed weekend off from football this week with fall break. Many members of the team went home to see their families while some stayed in Tuscaloosa.
“It’s always great to go home and relax and be with your family and be away from football for a little bit,” guard Chance Warmack said.
Head coach Nick Saban, however, said he could never “take a mental break.”
“I leave town for a day, but I take everything with me,” Saban said. “I was watching our team either in practice on Thursday, or games, or recruits, or somebody that has something to do with improving our situation here.”
While the team didn’t have a game to play, it didn’t take a complete break from football. A few of the players said they watched some games on Saturday, including major upsets around the country.
Florida State, LSU and Georgia – the No. 3, 4 and 5 teams in the country, respectively – all lost, and the Tide feels it can take lessons from those games.
“There’s a lot of parity in college football,” Saban said. “The only thing predictable about college football is its unpredictability.”
His players seemed to take the message to heart.
“It gave the younger guys a chance to look at other teams and other great teams and them not bringing their A-game to the game and actually lose a game,” safety Robert Lester said. “Maybe they learn a lesson while not actually going out there and learning a lesson and it costing us.”
Other players, like running back Eddie Lacy, didn’t even turn on the games.
“I don’t watch football on TV,” Lacy said. “So I just have to do it in the film room.”
Tide dealing with injuries
Another aspect of the bye week Alabama enjoyed was giving some players time to get healthy. Cornerback Deion Belue missed the second half of Alabama’s game against Ole Miss with a shoulder injury, and wide receiver Kevin Norwood has been limited in practice with a foot injury.
Saban said everyone would practice Monday, including Norwood and Belue.
With running back Dee Hart and wide receiver DeAndrew White out for the season with knee injuries, the off week also gave the offense a chance to fill those roles. Wide receiver is arguably Alabama’s deepest position, but running back is a different story.
Lacy and true freshmen T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake are the only three healthy running backs that started the season at that position. Saban said quarterback Blake Sims and H-back Brent Calloway will get looks at running back as well.
“When somebody gets hurt at any position, it’s something that we don’t like, but the guys who are left – me, T.J. and Drake – we just gotta pick up the load,” Lacy said. “It’s a position [Calloway and Sims have] played before, so they already know what to expect coming into it if that’s what they have to do.”
No TV time yet for Alabama-Tennessee
Alabama fans will have to wait until Monday for a kickoff time for the Tide’s trip to Tennessee. CBS exercised its six-day window for next week’s slate of games.
LSU-Texas A&M, Florida-South Carolina or Alabama-Tennessee will get the 2:30 p.m. game on CBS, while the other two matchups will kickoff either at 11:00 a.m. on ESPN or 6 or 6:45 p.m. on ESPN.