Saban discusses Young Anderson’s decisions to play in the Sugar Bowl

The Alabama football team resumed practices Friday, nearly three weeks after the Iron Bowl and two weeks before playing Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl.

The Tide will practice for nearly the next week in Tuscaloosa before traveling Dec. 26 to New Orleans for the Dec. 31 bowl game.

Nick Saban told ESPN earlier Friday that no players are expected to walk away from the game, but he did hold a press conference later today for the first time since Dec. 5.

Here are the highlights:

– Saban said he “really admires” the players’ attitudes and “everyone seems to be taking a serious approach to what they need to do to be positive, prepare for the game, and have fun,” he said.

– “This is not something unimportant to us,” Saban said. “We have a lot to prove in this match.”

– Saban said Kansas State is old-fashioned, tough and well-trained. “There’s no way to make it easy,” he said.

– Saban said that the first few practices will be used in the basics after the break. “We really had to work hard to bring people back mentally,” he said.

– Saban said the 13 freshmen have made a total of 27 on this game’s roster.

– Saban: “Will and Bryce getting back into the game speaks volumes about the culture we have on the show,” he said, referring to both players’ desire to improve themselves and help their teammates.

– “These guys got the right to play in the Sugar Bowl,” he said.

When asked why Young and Anderson wanted to play, Saban said, “It’s interesting that people choose not to play for their team and the way you create value for yourself is by playing football. That’s the best way you can create value for your future.” Saban said he hears players say they want to prepare for the NFL, but what they prepare for in the NFL “doesn’t even relate” to the football field.

– Saban: “I think those two guys are great rivals, and that’s why they wanted to play. … That might sound old-fashioned,” he said.

– Saban said he has “no control” over players who leave and that he respects players who want to be at Alabama. “It’s the culture of college football and people have the option to do whatever they want to do,” he said.

When asked about the 2023 early adopters at ball practice, Saban said the experience of watching college football practices and meetings has value, even if delegates in practice go to players who can bowl.

– Saban said Kansas State has a “really good team,” saying they can make the argument that because they beat a team in the playoffs, they should be in the playoffs.

When asked about the depth of building despite transfer gate losses, Saban indicated that there are two sources for acquiring players, including adding players through the gate if they think the players will be a “positive addition” to your team, in addition to recruitment. “I think being able to do that now – you can’t replace anyone now, you just have to play with what you’ve got,” Saban said, noting that teams would play in ball games with depleted rosters due to a port. “The gate is the gate. You can’t take someone out of the gate and come play in this game. How do you create depth out of the gate now? You can’t do that. You will later,” Saban continued, saying you need to make “good decisions” about who they do. by recruiting and adding them.

— Saban said Young and Anderson playing in the bowl game “set a great example,” and “I’m so proud of those guys.” As an institution, Saban said Alabama secured both players “to the best of their ability” so that they would not take “too much of a risk.”

– Saban said bowl exercises should start like fall camp to re-acclimatize players, then the actual game preparation can begin. “You have to treat this like it’s a one-game season, really.”

– “I think the players did a good job at that time trying to maintain the level of conditioning,” said Saban, so they were well prepared.

When asked about the offensive line, Saban said “I think you all know who’s on the team. I don’t think we have any secret fans who snuck in in the middle of the night.”

Mike Rodak is the winning Alabama correspondent for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @employee.

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