Football team practices in full pads

Nolan Imsande

“I am pleased with the retention that we had from before spring break,” he said. “Today being the first day in pads, it really makes you realize how much fundamental work we need to do and how much we need to improve.”

With The University of Alabama’s spring break taking place last week, the Crimson Tide practiced the Friday before the break, then had a week off until practicing again Monday and Wednesday of this week.

Saban and his staff are trying to work in many newcomers including early enrollees from this year’s signing class and transfers.

“Obviously, this is really good for a lot of young players who can make a contribution next year and really become a part of the team,” he said. “They’ve got a great learning process to go through not only learning what to do, but how to do it and why it is important to do it … We are still trying to teach some of these guys how to practice so we can practice well together, practice fast and make the kind of improvement we need to make.”

In addition to new players, Alabama has multiple new coaches. Mel Tucker was hired in January to coach the secondary, while Tosh Lupoi was hired as the teams outside linebackers coach. Tucker spent the last two seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears and Lupoi was an analyst for last season’s Alabama staff.

“Mel is a really good coach. I think it is always helpful when a guy has worked for you before,” Saban said. “Obviously, his experience in the NFL and some of the things he has done since that time are things that may be good additions and adjustments for what might help us systematically.”

Saban also talked about his plans next season for running back Kenyan Drake, who missed most of last year with an injury.

“He is a guy that we want to get on the field,” he said. “Derrick Henry and him both are probably, pretty dynamic players…We are going to explore every way possible that we can get those guys the ball.”