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Nick Saban Talks Injuries, LSU Evaluation, and Facing Mississippi State

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After a big win on Saturday, Alabama returned to the practice field on Monday to start working towards another ranked opponent in Mississippi State.

Before they began preparations, head coach Nick Saban met with the media to give his thoughts on the 24-10 win over LSU and update the team’s status before facing the Bulldogs.

“To wrap up the last game after watching the film, I would say it was a classic rivalry game, like a lot of games that we’ve had with LSU,” Saban said. “I think that at times we didn’t execute as well as we would’ve liked, and we certainly have a lot of things that we can clean up and work on fundamentally – technique-wise – and playing on the line of scrimmage. The players showed a lot of persistence, determination and discipline to be able to stay in the game in a tough, hard-fought game, to come out on top and win the game.”

The victory, however, came with a high cost. Alabama dealt with injuries all night and ultimately lost two more linebackers for an extended period of time.

“I’m sure you all know, as I said after the game, Shaun Dion (Hamilton) had a successful surgery. This is something he’ll be able to respond to in a few months and hopefully be able to come back and have an opportunity to do some things to extend his career. Mack (Wilson) had foot injury that will probably put him out four to six weeks; we’ll just have to play it by ear and see how fast it heals. We’ve got some other guys that are nicked up that may not practice today, but we think they’ll be ready to go tomorrow and be able to do enough to be ready to play in the game.”

That next opponent is a Mississippi State team that’s only lost two games this season and Saban has been impressed with their play this year.

“Mississippi State is a really good team as they’ve won seven games this year. (Head coach) Dan (Mullen) has done a really good job in the years that he’s been there. He’s a great offensive coach, and he always presents a lot of issues and problems for the defense to adjust to. Nick Fitzgerald has done a really good job at quarterback. He’s a very good passer, a great runner and a big, physical, strong guy that they use both ways. They’ve been very consistent in their run-pass and the mix of what they do and how they do it. Their defense has shown tremendous improvement. Todd Grantham is the new defensive coordinator there, and they’ve really done well this year as they’re one of the top-ranked defensive teams in the country.”

Here are the topics Saban addressed on Monday

  • Minkah Fitzpatrick’s status heading into this week after getting banged up against LSU.
  • What MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald does that creates pressure for opposing defenses.
  • The opportunity that Dylan Moses will have at linebacker with the injuries at the position.
  • The difference punter JK Scott made last game and how special teams impacts the outcome each week.
  • The running back rotation and how the players are handling it.
  • What type of player Shaun Dion Hamilton is and what the team will be missing with him out.
  • Some inconsistency at wide receiver on Saturday night.
  • Improving on slowing down the pass rush and giving Jalen Hurts more time in the pocket.
  • How he gets young players prepared to step in and play with confidence when injuries happen.

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