Even though the Tigers were heavy
favorites on their home field against the Indians, Saban said there was still a
sense of nervousness among some of the first-time starters.
“During pregame, I tapped one of
the guys on the shoulder and said the two’s are in, you’re out,” Saban
After Saban told one of his
starting defenders to step out of the second team defense’s drill, the message
“Again, I told him, the two’s are
in, you’re out,” Saban smiled. “It was not that he didn’t hear me. After I told
him the second time, he went right back and lined up in the wrong defense. It
took me telling him three times.”
Saban asked, though, that the media
not mention this particular player’s name. However, the tension and anticipation
had this particular player in question a bit distracted as he prepared for his
first career start. And that was for a game about to be played in Tiger Stadium.
LSU is getting set to play its
second non-conference road game in as many years. However, this season’s
opponent does not carry the same weight as last year’s trek to Virginia Tech.
Arizona is regarded as one of the bottom tier Pac-10 teams, but Saban and the
Tigers are not taking the Wildcats lightly.
“I think this is a football team
(Arizona) that is underrated, and I think people look at the surface only. Last
year they scored a lot of points and were in a lot of games,” Saban said. “The
PAC-10 obviously did pretty well against the SEC this past week and certainly
our players need to be aware of that and know that our league is
nationally-known and when we go play places people are anxious to play us. They
also want to prove something when it happens, just like last year at Virginia
No SEC team has recorded a win over
a Pac-10 member since Tennessee beat UCLA 30-24 in 1997. Since then, several
schools have had opportunities including Alabama (0-2 vs. UCLA) and Mississippi
State (0-2 vs. Oregon)
Saban said the coaching staff and
team is weighing all possibilities of what could happen when they travel to
Tucson over the weekend.
“I know how people think and that
is exactly what you do not want to do as a competitor who is getting ready to
play a game,” Saban said. “You figure up all the reasons that things should go
right or all the reasons that things should go wrong and it doesn’t necessarily
happen that way. It happens the way you make it happen and I think we better be
ready to make it happen the right way by how we play and continue to try and
develop an identity as a team that plays smart football.
While the Wildcats have struggled
defensively, Saban gave Arizona’s offense high marks. A year ago, the Wildcats
were a pass heavy ball club. As shown in UA’s 42-7 win over UTEP last Saturday,
Arizona is trying to jump start its running game.
“Arizona played two quarterbacks
last week and both guys showed some effectiveness,” Saban said. “They ran the
ball more effectively. I know the one running back may have been injured in the
game, it looked like he hurt his shoulder in the game, and I do not know if he
will be back for the game, but (halfback) Mike Bell had a big game. They have a
big offensive line and their quarterback (Nic) Costa is really a nifty guy who
can really run and is a very good passer as well. (Ryan) O’Hara threw the ball
effectively in the game as well, so they have two capable quarterbacks.”
No new injuries have been reported,
except for the ones Saban talked about in Saturday’s postgame press
“From an injury standpoint
(cornerback) Randall Gay (broken left arm) is the only guy and you know about
him,” Saban said. “(Craig) Buster Davis (wide receiver) will start back today in
a red shirt today doing some practice. Randall will be out at least two weeks
and then they will re-X-ray. It is not fractured all the way through so it is
not a hairline fracture. We are going to re-evaluate him in two weeks and it
probably depends a lot on his tolerance of being able to play with whatever they
have to put on his arm."