With about five weeks between the SEC Championship Game and the BCS National Championship Game, there’s plenty of time for Alabama to install a lot of new wrinkles.
However, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said he’s not a fan of doing something different just for the sake of doing something different. He said his three previous national championship teams didn’t install many different things before playing for the title.
“Why do you have to come up with something new? Lots of people do,” Saban said. “They think they have a lot of time to practice, so we can come up with a lot of tricks and different things like that.
“I don’t necessarily think that’s the way we’ve done it in the past. I think you technically do what you think you need to do to be able to attack the other team, doing things your players know how to do. If you try to do too many things they don’t know how to do, they have a better chance of messing them up.”
n Still a question mark: Alabama center Barrett Jones remained on the sideline in practice Saturday afternoon, riding a stationary bike and doing light exercises while his teammates worked out.
Jones dressed out in his uniform but wore a black non-contact jersey and a black walking boot on his injured left foot.
Saban has said he wants Jones to practice before playing in a game, and there isn’t much time left. Alabama has only five practices and one walk-through before facing Notre Dame for the national title Jan. 7.
n Tide gets a break: After practicing four times in four days, Alabama will get today and Monday off.
The Tide will practice Tuesday and Wednesday in Tuscaloosa before flying to Miami on Wednesday afternoon.
Saban said he wanted his players to get at least two days off before getting into what he calls regular game-week preparation.
“Our feeling is that two days off does 100 times more good than one day off,” he said.
n Pettway at linebacker: After spending much of the year as a defensive end, Tide freshman D.J. Pettway has worked a little this month at outside linebacker.
“I think what D.J. Pettway has to do is, no matter how well he can pass rush, is he has to prove that he can be depended on,” Saban said. “That’s he’s going to do the right thing. That he’s going to be in the right place at the right time, whether it’s on or off the field, so that everybody can trust in him that he’s going to do the things that he’s supposed to do.
“Talking about responsibility for your own self-determination, I think that’s important for everybody in the organization. Guys that can do that usually do a good job of going in there and developing the kind of respect and trust with their teammates that they need so that people want to play with them. But he is a guy that does have pass rush ability and can help us.”