In the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, Alabama is set to face off against Michigan, a team surrounded by controversy its entire season. The most recent scandal involved the Wolverines' head coach, Jim Harbaugh, receiving a three-week suspension for sign-stealing.
Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban was asked during his press conference Monday night if he has plans to change Alabama’s signs for the matchup against the Wolverines.
“Not really,” Saban said. “We always change things up a little bit, but we’re focused on what we have to do to get good execution, and we’re not really concerned about any of that stuff.”
The scandal at Michigan implicated former Wolverine staffer Connor Stalions, who reportedly orchestrated a plan involving the acquisition of tickets to upcoming UM opponents' games. Stalions would dispatch individuals to these games to videotape the sidelines for sign stealing.
The stealing of signs is not illegal and is a regular occurrence in college football. However, using electronic devices to do so is forbidden by the rules. Michigan initially contested Harbaugh's suspension in court but eventually abandoned those efforts, resulting in a three-week suspension for Jim Harbaugh.
Saban said he is not too concerned about the controversy surrounding the opposing team but is more focused on preparing his team for the game.
"The first three days of practice, we've really tried to focus on fundamentals," Saban said. "I think everybody's got to practice with a plan, a sense of purpose. Everybody's got to kind of reinvest into conditioning, reinvest into fundamental techniques, discipline to execute, blocking, tackling. It will all translate into positive performance in the game. And I think it's hard to carry the momentum from the season into the game when you've got almost a month between games."
No. 4 Alabama and No. 1 Michigan will square off in Pasadena on New Year’s Day at 4 p.m. CT on ESPN.
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