Tide notebook: Saban gives his team a breather Monday
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Sep 30, 2013 | 3006 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama head coach Nick Saban questions a penalty during last Saturday's game with Ole Miss. Saban gave his top ranked Alabama team an extra day off today as they prepare to play Georgia State for Homecoming this Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  (Photo by Trent Penny)
Alabama head coach Nick Saban questions a penalty during last Saturday's game with Ole Miss. Saban gave his top ranked Alabama team an extra day off today as they prepare to play Georgia State for Homecoming this Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. (Photo by Trent Penny)
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TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama coach Nick Saban believes in resting players properly during long stretches of consecutive games without a bye week so the Crimson Tide didn’t really practice Monday.

“We’re just doing a walk-through and stretch and stride,” Saban said during his Monday news conference. “We do this every so often on Mondays so the players get two days off practice. We still do all the things that we do mentally as far as the scouting report, game plan that we put in Monday, whatever those things are.”

Saban said he’s used this method throughout his years of coaching and feels it helps. There was no media viewing period during Monday.

“My experience in the past is -- we have a seven-game stretch here -- when you play more than five or six games in a row, players start to get worn down, start to get tired,” Saban said. “Two days rest does 10 times more good than one. It doesn’t do two times more good, it does 10 times more good.”

COVERAGE UNITS: With a third of the season gone, Alabama’s special teams has been the most consistent unit for the two-time defending champions.

“I think we’ve done a better job in our coverage units this year, no doubt,” Saban said. “Kickoff coverage has been really good. We’ve got really good team speed on that unit. They get down the field. They’ve got a lot of pride in what they do.”

One player who always seems to be around the ball on special teams is safety Landon Collins, who again was named a player of the week on special teams by the coaching staff.

“He's a demon on special teams, there's no doubt about that, regardless of what his role is and he plays on about all of them,” Saban said.

Kevin Norwood, Anthony Steen and T.J. Yeldon were named players of the week on offense. HaHa Clinton-Dix and C.J. Mosley won defensive honors, while Collins, Cade Foster, Dillon Lee, Cody Mandell and DeAndrew White landed on the special teams list.

GRANT HILL: At 6-foot-6 and 301 pounds, it’s hard to miss true freshman offensive lineman Grant Hill. It’s also not hard to miss when’s not around. Hill wasn’t on the sidelines for Saturday’s game.

“Grant Hill got sick Saturday morning before the game. I’m talking about bad sick,” Saban said. “We had a little virus going around. It’s kind of like a stomach virus.

“It lasts for about 24 hours. AJ actually had it last Tuesday, and was up all night. We had to give him IVs and all that. Barely could get through practice on Tuesday.”

Hill has worked at left tackle with the second offensive line group. Saban said Hill was too sick to dress and the team didn’t want him giving his virus to any of his teammates.

“So when Grant Hill got up Saturday morning, he was sick,” Saban said. “He was too sick to dress for the game and to really be around the other players. But he’s better now. I didn’t even think about that after the game. I wasn’t trying to keep anything from you (reporters). I just didn't think about it. His status really hasn’t ever changed. He just got sick for a day.”

INJURY REPORT: Saban said center Ryan Kelly is the only player he expects to miss Saturday’s game against Georgia State.

Kelly suffered what Saban called a “stretched MCL” in the first half and did not return. Saban said Kelly will be out “a couple of weeks, maybe even three.”

Redshirt junior Chad Lindsay replaced Kelly. Wide receiver Kevin Norwood said “I’m good” when asked about his ankle that has been bothering him. Norwood said he expects to participate fully in practice this week.
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