Nick Saban, Eli Gold and media guest  Dusty Devoracek of ESPN spent an hour discussing the upcoming Alabama homecoming game against Arkansas Thursday on Saban's radio show. The show is broadcast from Baumhower's Victory Grille. Here are the highlights of the first 30 minutes.

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Segment one

Saban noted: "It's homecoming. It's a big game. I've tried to tell our players not to lose their energy. It's been a work in progress. They were pretty good today.

"Thursday is a mixture of things you've done all week. You have noise in there so it makes it hard to communicate."

Saban said he asks fans every Thursday to cheer loud when the other team has the ball at a home game, but he learned that the noise affects the defense as it calls signals, so now the defense practices with noise on Thursdays before home games. He said he figured this out "probably in 2012 or '13."

Saban said about offensive line depth, 'It's paramount we make progress and improve in the offensive line. A lot of it is fundamentals. Hand placement is important. That's where you can steer a guy and control the block.

Arkansas' got a good front seven. They've got good big guys. We've got to execute as a group. An effective running game is going to start with the fundamentals up front."

Segment two

Saban told Oklahoma alum Devoracek that OU and Texas coming to the SEC is "great for the fans. We didn't really change the footprint of the conference. Fans can stay engaged. You're going to play everybody every four years."

Asked about the experience gained by wining tough SEC road games: "Our team has shown great resiliency. Staying focused. Making plays in critical situations. We need to sustain that for 60 minutes. Make the other team beat you. You don't want to give them anything."

Saban said he tells young players that every day in practice they're auditioning for a bigger role.

Saban was asked about  Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson. "He makes big plays down the field. He does so much for their team. He's hard to bring down. I worry about trying to contain him.

"The middle of the field safety's got to be able to read the quarterback runs. You've got to be able to have spies on the guy."

Asked about kicker Will Reichard: "He's fantastic. To have good specialists on your team is a tremendous asset. He's very accurate. He's got a strong leg. And what a great person.

"[Punting] is not a problem for Will. "It's going to have hang time."

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