Alabama head coach Nick Saban gave his first evaluation of the Auburn Tigers as Iron Bowl week got started in Tuscaloosa.

Although the season hasn't gone as planned for the preseason SEC Championship favorite, Saban has seen improvement in the Auburn team from the beginning of the season until now.

"Auburn's probably playing the best they've played all year," Saban said. "They've gotten better and better, which I think is a tribute to Gus (Malzahn) and his staff for the good job that they do with the players they have."

It's easy to attribute Auburn's inconsistency to the quarterback position, where Jeremy Johnson and Sean White have rotated in and out. It's uncertain who will start on Saturday, but Saban knows his team has to be prepared for both regardless.

"I don't know who is going to play in this game," Saban said. "We've got to be ready for either guy. They've probably been a little bit more efficient with their quarterbacks - either one - so we have a lot of respect for both guys."

As Alabama begins its preparations with an afternoon practice on Monday, Saban provided these injuries notes about his team:

  • Kenyan Drake will start doing individual drills today and will be evaluated day-to-day.
  • Dominick Jackson and Minkah Fitzpatrick will be back practicing on Monday.
  • LB Keith Holcombe sprained his knee but Saban hopes he'll return to practice later this week.

The Crimson Tide has a chance to clinch the SEC West title with a win on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2:30 PM on CBS.