Alabama’s bye week is over, and LSU game week has officially arrived. The Crimson Tide needed this week off to rest and hopefully get some guys back from injury. Two big pieces on the defensive line, DJ Dale and Jaheim Oatis, missed the last game against Mississippi State and seem to be trending in the right direction according to Nick Saban in his Monday press conference.
"I think both guys are gonna start back to practice this week," Saban said. "We’ll kind of determine how they do during the course of the week and what their availability will be when the game comes."
If both Dale and Oatis are able to play Saturday, it will be huge for the Crimson Tide defense, providing depth at the defensive line position as they will be facing a big challenge, Jayden Daniels, a dual-threat quarterback. Alabama has faced two dual-threat quarterbacks this season with mixed results. The Crimson Tide was successful against Arkansas’ K.J. Jefferson, but not so much against Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker who delivered Alabama it's only loss of the season. Saban was asked about the difficulties of defending mobile quarterbacks.
“Well, I think it’s very challenging to play against quarterbacks who are dual-threat type of guys, and this is obviously going to be a big challenge for us," the coach stated. "I think that it’s something where the emphasis has to be on all 11 guys really doing what they need to do whether it’s pass rush lanes, whether it’s how you cover people, keeping contain of the quarterback, keep him in the pocket whether even when he steps up, you can retrace the rush, so there’s a lot of elements to doing this. You just can’t rush and think you’re going to get a sack and get pushed by the quarterback and then he’s going to have lanes to run in. So all of these things are going to be real points of emphasis for us all week long so that we have a chance to contain a guy that’s a very good passer but he can also beat you with his feet.”
The week off for Alabama came at a great time not only to recover from injuries, but to hit the reset button and work on regaining focus while gaining some momentum down the home stretch to make a push to achieve the goals that this Crimson Tide team desires.
“You never know how a bye week is going to affect a team," said Saban. "Hopefully it gave us a chance to get guys healthy. I think psychologically it gives you a chance to recalibrate a little bit, give you a little break but it’s still going to come down to what I said earlier. What are you attaching yourself to? That means what’s going into your head. Are you thinking about the internet and what other people think or the self-gratification you get from being productive and doing a good job. So the focus is so important, I think regardless of whether you’re coming off a bye week or playing week in and week out, to be able to sustain that, recapture it, regain it. Momentum, whatever you want to call it. It’s important to do in a game. It’s important to do in a season and it’s important to do when you come off a bye week.”
Alabama will travel to Baton Rouge Saturday to take on the #15 LSU Tigers and first-year head coach Brian Kelly.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.