Nick Saban, Players Expect Usual ‘Tough, Physical’ Matchup Against LSU [VIDEO]
Saturday nights in Death Valley are already renowned, and Alabama only helps take it to another level.
This weekend, the Crimson Tide will make its return trip to Tiger Stadium, or Death Valley, to face No. 14 LSU, where for the second straight meeting in Baton Rouge, Alabama will play the Tigers under the lights.
"These games are traditionally very tough, physical games between two ranked teams, and it’s certainly not going to be any different this year," Alabama coach Nick Saban said during his Monday press conference.
Since Les Miles took over as head coach at LSU in 2005 for the departed Saban, who coached at the school from 2000-04, the Tigers have a 46-3 record when playing in Saturday night home games.
Among those three losses? Alabama in 2012, when running back T.J. Yeldon famously scored on a 28-yard screen pass with 51 seconds remaining to give the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide the late lead and the win. (During the 2008 and 2010 seasons under Saban, Alabama played LSU on the road in the afternoon, winning both matchups.)
Sophomore defensive end Jonathan Allen has never played at LSU, but he has an idea of what to expect.
"I’ve heard a lot about it, I’ve heard all the stories," Allen said. "I’m excited, I love to be in that type of atmosphere, so I’m excited. I’m just ready to go out there and compete."
Safety Landon Collins, a Louisiana native who was heavily recruited by LSU out of high school, said there is a vast difference between day and night games at Tiger Stadium.
"When I was recruited I went to almost all of the LSU night games," he said. "It’s an exciting game, crazy. When I went to morning games when I was being recruited, you could just feel a different atmosphere. The people were calmer, I guess because they had to go later on in the day they had to go do other stuff, but at night time it’s just straight up LSU. I mean, what else are you going to do at 10 o’clock at night?
The fans just change, it’s just different. They’re just there for the team and they support."
Could Cam Robinson be back from an injury and ready to play this weekend so soon? It's possible, Saban said on Monday.
"We haven’t ruled him out of the game," he said. "We’ll have to see how he progresses this week. He has run on the treadmill and done well at that. We’ll see how he moves around today, not really in practice, but just on the side. If he continues to make progress, he could be a guy who could be available for the game."
Robinson, a true freshman from West Monroe, Louisiana, has started every game at left tackle for Alabama this season but sustained a high ankle sprain in the Crimson Tide's win at Tennessee on Oct. 25 and sat out the remainder of the game. He didn't practice at all last week during Alabama's bye week but will practice in some capacity during Monday afternoon's practice, Saban said.
"Cam is still going to be limited today," he said.
Last week, Saban said on two separate occasions that he expected Robinson to be out a "couple of weeks."
Left guard Arie Kouandjio, who starts alongside Robinson on the offensive line, was surprised at Robinson's alleged recovery when he saw him at the Alabama football complex on Sunday.
"I saw him walking around yesterday, actually, a little bit," Kouandjio said. "I didn’t say anything to him, but I was very surprised to see him walking around like nothing bothering him."
After going down with the injury against the Volunteers, right guard Leon Brown moved to left tackle and redshirt freshman Bradley Bozeman came off the bench to take Brown's original spot for the remainder of the game. But during bye week practices, however, right tackle Austin Shepherd moved to left tackle with sophomore backup Grant Hill coming in with the starting group at right tackle.
Right guard Alphonse Taylor will likely miss Monday's practice due to a concussion sustained in practice last week but "should be OK by tomorrow," Saban said.
"We’re just kind of being cautious with him," he said.
Taylor has been in and out of the starting lineup at right gaurd all season, starting in two of the team's eight games this year.
Excluding players with season-ending injuries, all other players should be available at practice Monday.
Running back Tyren Jones will be back at practice Monday following last week's suspension for undisclosed reasons.
"If Tyren Jones does what he’s supposed to, maybe he’ll be back sometime soon," Saban said last Wednesday.
Watch the player interviews from Monday below:
Quarterback Blake Sims:
Safety Landon Collins:
Defensive end Jonathan Allen:
Offensive guard Arie Kouandjio: