Alabama’s Oats’ Pringle Promise
Following his team's 89-65 blowout win Monday over Arkansas State, Alabama coach Nate Oats had plenty to say to the media. Here's a look:
“A solid win for us. We’ve been emphasizing defense. I thought it was decent in the first half. Still wasn’t where we needed to be and got worse in the second half. But I think we’re making improvements on that side of the ball.
“And I’ll say it was good to have Bryan back in and Arkansas State. I’ve got an entire new coaching staff. Coach Pannone runs our defense, and he was talking about (how) they don’t have their full roster, obviously. I know how it is coming into a program in the first year trying to install a system that they’re not used to playing. He’s trying to get his guys to play fast, make quick decisions, come downhill without a roster. He’s a great recruiter and he’ll get that roster set here pretty quick. But shoot, they knew all our play calls, we knew all their play calls. It’s kind of how it was. They’re running the same system we are. But he’s in Year 1 trying to establish it, and I think he’s doing a pretty good job. They had three guys down.
“But as far as us, we needed to get this one. We needed to play better on defense. We did that. They exposed a few things that we need to work on. Our defensive rebounding needs major work before we play Purdue, giving up 15 O boards against them tonight. But we’ve got a tough three-game stretch ahead of us. So we’re going to continue to work on our defense, try to get it better and see what we can do in this next three-game stretch here.”
On Grant Nelson’s status
“It was his left leg. Really with the score at the time in the game, they decided to start treatment on him right away to try to get ready by Saturday. He should be good to go Saturday, but it was a left leg injury that needed some treatment. They just started it with the way the score was at the time he went out.”
On Jarin Stevenson and Mo Wague
“Wague led us in Blue Collar points. He had five offensive rebounds. He had three blocks. He did a decent job protecting the rim. I thought he gave us some good minutes. He shot 6-of-6 at the free-throw line. He did a lot of positive things. He had some areas he can improve, as well. He had a few fouls in there, maybe missed a couple of defensive rebounds he needed to get, but I was happy with them. Jarin gave us some good minutes, too. He hit the two threes. We need to get him to rebound a little bit better, but I thought he scored it well. He had some tough finishes in there. Both those guys were 100 percent at the free-throw line. They gave us some good minutes.
“It’ll be good to get Nick back against Purdue. He had a great practice yesterday. He’s back where he needs to be. I anticipate him playing a decent amount of minutes and we’re going to need our whole front line against Zach Edey. He seems to collect a lot of fouls on other teams’ front lines.”
On the importance of getting more guys minutes ahead of tough stretch
“I thought it was big. We played Sam as many minutes as we could possibly play him. If you foul out, you can’t play any more minutes than what we played you really. So got Sam, Dav, I thought Mo, all three of those guys, got them some more minutes and kind of see what they can do. I thought it was a good game to get them minutes in. The flow was going up and down. All three of them, we’re looking for all of them to get better on the defensive end for us, and they know it. They’re trying. They’re all freshmen, and it’s a little bit harder for freshmen on the defensive and coming from high school. We kind of talked about that before.”
On what Nick Pringle was able to show he’s ready to come back
“It was nothing necessarily with his practice habits. It was more me and him had to have a discussion about what was important to him and how he’s going to conduct himself on and off the court. He’s a great kid. I love him. He’s got great energy about him, but just need to clean few things up and we talked through and he’s thinking the exact mindset he needs to be to help his team win a lot of games moving forward.”
[Note: Sources say Pringle's suspension was due to missing classes. That situation has been remedied.]
On the scrappiness of Alabama’s guards
“Estrada was second right behind Wague in Blue Collar points tonight. Estrada’s got Wrightsell, Rylan Griffen – when Rylan’s in, our defense is significantly better. I like our guards. Defensively, I think they are scrappy. I like that group, Trelly, Rylan, Aaron, Mark. They’ve all got some toughness to them. They can put their nose in there and make some tough plays. We need to be better on D, but Rylan and Trelly have really been great on D and Aaron and Mark are picking it up. And both have shown signs. I mean, Mark’s play against Oregon was great on defense. If we could get that out of him every game, it’d be great.”
On freshman Kris Parker dressing out for the game
“I don’t think it means anything. I think he’s healthy. He’s playing great in practice. He’s still on the redshirt. He warms up before the games and everything. Maybe he wanted to look a little different there at the end of the bench after he warmed up with the team.”
“There were some stretches in the second half where I didn’t think we were very good. In the first half, we were pretty good. We were a 0.74 in the first half and a 0.97 in the second half. If we could have been 0.74 both halves, I would have been really happy with it. Our second half defense has been a consistent problem for us all year that it’s not quite there when we get tired. So it was closer than we’ve been, but I think if we’d have rebounded it better, the second half would have been better, and we didn’t do a great job on the defensive glass, particularly in the second half.”
On Davin Cosby's performance
“Dav’s getting better on defense. That’s what we’ve been really stressing him to do. I think he’s trying harder. Look, his attitude is unbelievable. He asks the right questions, never has any complaining. Just he’s all about the right thing. So like I’ve said it before, he’s a kid you really want to try to get minutes for. We’ve just got to get him better on defense. He’s getting better. He’s doing better job. I think he missed a checkout there in the second half. We’ve got to get him to rebound it a little bit better, too. But we’ve known he can shoot. He made those three three tonight. It was big. We need him to be ready to shoot when it comes in. That’s what he does great. But we’ve just got to get him to keep playing hard on the defensive end and see if we can increase his minutes, he’ll be ready to go when somebody gets injured, in foul trouble and we need him. The better those guys kind of the end of the rotation can get on defense, the more likely it is they’re going to get more minutes.”
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Gallery Credit: Meg Summers