TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team began the new week of practice with just under an hour and a half of work in helmets and shorts on Monday afternoon at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.
The team focused on tightening up its play after a 27-19 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies in College Station last Saturday. The Crimson Tide’s next challenge will come in the form of the Arkansas Razorbacks on Oct. 14. The Hogs are led by Brett Bielema, now in his fifth season in Fayetteville.
Alabama and Arkansas will meet at Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday for a homecoming weekend matchup. The game is scheduled for a 6:15 p.m. CT kickoff on ESPN with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit in the booth and Maria Taylor on the sidelines for the broadcast.
The Crimson Tide own the all-time advantage in the series with Arkansas, 17-8 (after vacations), and won last year’s meeting, 49-30, in Fayetteville. Head coach Nick Saban is 13-2 (12-2 after vacations) in his career against Arkansas, including a 10-0 mark (9-0 after vacations) at Alabama. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema is 0-4 all-time against the Crimson Tide.
Nick Saban met with the media prior to practice on Monday afternoon. Following is his opening statement:
“Obviously, we’re always pleased and happy to win, especially on the road in this league. Sometimes that can be a pretty difficult task, but we’d also like to look at ourselves and try to evaluate how we performed. Even though Texas A&M really played a good game and shared a lot of heart in the game, we played a pretty ordinary game for us. I don’t think we really executed the way we’d like to or with the consistency that we’d like to in the game. I think that it’s something as coaches, we take responsibility for, but we also we want to take responsibility for getting everybody to respond the right way so that we have a chance to improve and help our players be the best players they can be.
“I was very excited and pleased that Minkah (Fitzpatrick) was recognized as the SEC Defensive Player of the Week. You see the guys that we recognized as a staff as players of the week. With injury updates, I think everybody will be fine. Trevon Diggs will come back and try to practice some today. Tony Brown will be day-to-day throughout the course of the week, and we won’t be able to make a decision on him until sometime later in the week.
“We certainly look forward to getting back to Bryant-Denny Stadium. There’s a lot of tradition here when it comes to homecoming. I think it’s special with the kind of support and tradition that we have. It’s certainly something that we respect and look forward to being a part of. Arkansas has got a really good team. They’ve got some players that can really make a difference in the game, starting with their quarterback (Austin Allen), who certainly played well against us last year. He made some fabulous throws and really good plays. They’ve got three running backs that help them be one of the most effective teams running the ball of anybody we’ve played to this point. You can sit here and talk about what they have not done as a team; or you can say they should’ve beat Texas A&M, they’re very capable of scoring a lot of points and being a very good team. I think their defense is a very sound, solid group that doesn’t make a lot mistakes. You’ve got to work hard and execute well to beat them. This is going to be a challenging game, and it always has been for us, and we’re certainly going to prepare that way.”