With only one bowl practice left before Christmas, Nick Saban met with reporters to talk about preparations for Michigan State.

The team finished its sixth of seven practices on Tuesday afternoon, and Saban said the team has been responding well. The coaches are using each of the practices this week to expose the team to something that Michigan State does.

"That's been going pretty well," Saban said. "It kind of keeps (the players') attention everyday and gives us something to focus on and work on. And I've been pleased with the work ethic."

The team will practice again on Wednesday morning before taking three days off to travel home for Christmas. Alabama will reconvene on Saturday and ramp up the focus on the Cotton Bowl matchup with the Spartans.

"The more we look at Michigan State we have a tremendous amount of respect for their team," Saban said. "Their quarterback is really a good player. They've got good skill guys. They've got great balance on offense. Their defensive front guys really play well."

The Crimson Tide will spend next week in Dallas ahead of the New Year's Eve game.