Alabama prepared for Saturday scrimmage
Aug 18, 2012 (Menafn - Dothan Eagle - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Starting jobs may not be on the line for young Alabama football players in Saturday's scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but roles with the 2012 Crimson Tide certainly are.
"That's really what they tell us: 'This is your last chance to prove to us before we make a decision on who we're going to go with in the season,'" senior linebacker Nico Johnson said this week. "I think it's crunch time not just for the freshman, (but for) everybody."
Tide head coach Nick Saban said the focus this week has been on improvement -- individually and collectively. The coach said this is traditionally the toughest week of camp. But coaches are looking at how players compete and concentrate despite fatigue, stress, heat and confusion.
"You control how you think," Saban said.
This scrimmage likely will implement more game-like situations the team has worked on this week, the coach said.
"Whether it's four-minute at the end of the game where you've got to get first downs to take the air out of the ball, going two-minute (needing) a field goal at the end of the game to win it, two-minute before the half -- whatever it is," Saban said. "Every situation that we can possibly think of, we want to try to cover."
Again, those situations come back to mental toughness, he said. He's looking for players that "think the right way so that they can finish in critical situations in the game."
"They can not make errors, whether it's illegal procedure in a two-minute drive that kills you, or a defensive player jumping offsides in a two-minute that gives them a first down and gives them more opportunities," Saban said.
Players said last weeks' first scrimmage was fiercely contested, but had too many mental errors. After eight days of pure installation of its base plays, coaches just wanted to see players going at full speed. Scrimmage two is a bit different.
"You want to learn from those mistakes for the next scrimmage," safety HaHa Clinton-Dix said after Thursday's practice. "I want to work on getting in the middle of the field, breaking up balls a lot better."
"There were a lot of mental errors in the first scrimmage," running back Eddie Lacy said. "So this one, everybody's coming out and trying to make less of those mistakes than they made in the first one. So it's more of coming for, not redeeming, but just to show that they can do everything they're supposed to."
Linebacker C.J. Mosley, who said he wants to be more physical in the running game, said the first scrimmage was all about just giving effort. This scrimmage, "everybody knows what they should do, so it will be all about executing."
Tight end Michael Williams agreed that there will be less thinking and more playing today.
"By the time we have been in (camp) a week and a half or two weeks, most of the stuff has been installed and you are just perfecting it," Williams said.
The head coach said perfection can wait. He wants to identify his football players first.
"Some of these guys will have a role on our team," Saban said before last week's scrimmage. "We have some really good size and speed guys in this freshman class. A lot of these guys have shown they'll probably be contributors on special teams, for sure. Those are the kind of guys that we're going to continue to develop and try to coach."
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