Saban Lauds Niblack’s Improvement
Sophomore tight end Amari Niblack if off to a strong start for No. 11 Alabama and he drew some praise from coach Nick Saban as a result. That lauding was one of the highlights of the short but sweet six minutes Saban gave media Wednesday night at the Mal Moore Building. Here's a look at those remarks.
“I’ve been pretty pleased with the way the players are working this week in preparing for this game. I sort of challenged them with what is really your priority to be the best player you can be? What is your priority to do what you need to do to help the team win? And if that’s your priority, then that’s what you’re doing every day. It’s not priorities, aight, where it’s not always comfortable. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes you have to overcome adversity.
“You’ve got to kind of have the mental toughness to not let those things get you to back down and to continue to persevere. And I think the players have been doing a pretty good job of that so far this week. This is obviously a really good team. We’re going to play in a tough environment and we’re going to need to continue to show a lot of progress so that we’ll have a chance to be successful and be able to execute the way we need to have a chance to win on the road.”
On the progress of tight end Amari Niblack
“He’s doing great. He’s a really good receiver. He’s improved as a blocker. This year, his confidence and knowledge of the offense and what he’s doing, how to do it, why it’s important to do it that way is so much better, and I think it’s starting to show up in how productive he is on the field as a player.”
On the NCAA shrinking the transfer portal window from 60 to 45 days
“I don’t even know what they did. Can you tell me? I really don’t know. I’m sure there was good reason for whatever they did to do what they did. I’ve said before, I’m all for players having rights to do the things that they want to do, and I’m all for name, image and likeness and guys being able to do things that create value for them. I’m not just paying guys to play. That’s not what name, image and likeness was supposed to be. I don’t really know what they did today, so I really shouldn’t comment on it.”
On the importance of offensive communication on the road due to noise
“It’s really important. We’ve been emphasizing it all week, but tomorrow is always the day that we practice with noise. I know the centers and the quarterbacks have worked a little bit extra on that with noise this week. But tomorrow will be the day that we need to really go through the whole practice and be able to deal with noise, and that’s really when you can see how much it’s going to impact the players. We’ve had some issues with the snap count, so hopefully, that’s not going to be a problem for us and we can get that resolved.”
On if it helps having faced Texas A&M quarterback Max Johnson before
On if he can see Bob Petrino’s influence on Texas A&M’s offense
“Yeah, I think you can see it. But I also think that there’s philosophically some of the things that Jimbo likes to do. I don’t think those guys think that differently. But there are some things that Bobby has done in the past that you see them doing now that they’ve added to what they do, and it’s all very effective.”
On if it's more important to slow the A&M pass rush or speed up the clock
“I think it’s a combination of both. I think we got to do a much better job of having a firm pocket and protecting the quarterback against really good pass rushers. And I also think it’s important that we get the ball out of our hand on time so that we don’t give them an opportunity to affect us. So it’s really a combination of both, and it’s a combination of the receivers getting open, playing fast so that we can make quick decisions about what we do and how we get rid of the ball.”
The Tide and Aggies will face off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and the game will be carried on Tide 100.9 along with 95.3 The Bear.
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