Saban taking slightly different approach to bye week No. 2
Not all bye weeks are created equal.
This is Alabama’s second bye week of the 2013 season. Its first bye week? That came back in early September following the Tide’s season-opening 35-10 win over Virginia Tech in Atlanta.
Think everyone remembers where Alabama was as a team back in early September. For one thing, the offensive line was still in the early stages of learning to gel together. Heck, the whole team, in many ways, was still learning to gel together. They only had one game under their belts.
Alabama was still very much a work in progress back in early September. It certainly wasn’t what now looks like a well-oiled machine of a team that’s seemingly clicking on all cylinders after putting together a string of stellar performances.
To put it simply, this is a different Alabama team from the one in September. And Nick Saban is taking a a little different approach to this second bye week.
“Sometimes less is more when you have bye weeks, especially late in the season,” the Alabama head coach said Wednesday morning. “We manage them a little bit different. When we had a bye week earlier in the season, we practiced a little bit more. We were still trying to get our team ready to play.
“At this point in the season, after eight games, the players are kind of in a routine of what they do each week to get ready to play a game, and now all of a sudden you don’t have a game. I think at this time of the year, it’s important that you get the team ready to play the next four games, and, at this time, physical, psychological and mental recovery is probably as important as anything.”
So what exactly will Alabama players being doing this Saturday? Whatever they want to do. They all have the day off — the weekend off. Some may end up doing what a lot of people around the South do this time of year — watch football. Others may elect to get away from the game altogether. Maybe go fishing or go see a movie or just hang out with family and friends.
However they decide to use their free time, Saban just wants them to be smart about it.
“These guys have been here for a long time and haven’t had any weekends off,” Saban said. “We give them the weekend off for rest and recovery. Everybody’s got to be mature and disciplined about how they manage that. I’m sure a lot of them will watch a lot of football games. At the same time, it’s a good time for them to just get some physical, mental, psychological, whatever, time to recover.”
And LSU, Alabama’s next opponent on Nov. 9? Just barely on the radar right now.
“You can’t use the whole two weeks to prepare for the game,” Saban said. “I’ve never believed in that because I think that’s when players get sort of tired of the same things over and over and over. By the time the game comes, they’re sort of mentally and psychologically drained, especially when they’re in sort of a rhythm of how to get ready for a game in the course of a week. Not that we won’t use this week to do some things that are a little different that they do that we need to practice against.
“Psychologically, we’re not focusing on that game until a specific time so the players really don’t have to be thinking about it for an extended period of time. This game means a lot to both teams and it means a lot to all the players. So we don’t want to wear them out with it.”
The Alabama-LSU showdown is set for a 7 p.m. CDT kickoff on Nov. 9 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. CBS will televise the game.
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