Nick Saban remains calm with Mocs on the horizon

Alabama football coach Nick Saban, right, shares a laugh with Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen before Saban's Crimson Tide routed Mullen's Bulldogs last Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban is on the verge of going an entire regular season without blowing up in a news conference.

Saban has yet to be asked a specific question about Saturday's foe, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, which historically has led to outbursts. Wednesday marked Saban's final media session this week, and he was asked about everything from the maturation of freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts to what the coach typically does after home games.

Saban didn't even mind elaborating.

"I go shake hands with every player on the team and every coach," he said. "I go to a press conference and visit with my favorite family of people that I look forward to meeting every week. Then I go do a radio show, and then I go do a TV show. Then I go into the recruiting room and shake hands with all the recruits.

"By the time I get home, all the company has settled in, and I'm lucky if I get something to eat."

There was the possibility Saban could erupt this week, because he was quite animated the Wednesday before last season's 56-6 win over Charleston Southern. Saban had been asked a harmless question about Charleston Southern's quarterback, who had transferred from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, but he quickly went in another direction.

"These teams that are typically the best teams in their division are really good teams," Saban told reporters a year ago. "You all may be taking this week off, but I'm not."

Saban then evoked the Crimson Tide's 2011 hosting of Georgia Southern, a 45-21 win in which they allowed 302 rushing yards and 7.7 per carry, and his voice kept rising.

"They ran through our (butt) like (poop) through a tin horn, and we could not stop them!" he shouted.

Alabama practiced for two hours Wednesday, wearing full pads with the thermometer at 73 degrees.

The Crimson Tide received mixed news this week on the awards front. Junior left tackle Cam Robinson, who has 21 knockdown blocks in 10 games, was named among the five semifinalists for the Outland Trophy. However, junior punter JK Scott, who ranks second nationally with a 48.4-yard average, was not among the 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award.

Scott was a finalist in 2014, when he averaged 48.0 yards per attempt.

"I'm not here to criticize anybody," Saban said. "Everybody has got to make their choices based on whatever their criteria is. In my opinion, JK may be the best punter in the country in terms of what he's done for our team - his average and his consistency this year and his hang time."

Saban also said Hurts played his most complete game this season in last Saturday's 51-3 rout of Mississippi State and that sophomore Lester Cotton is experimenting at tackle even though he is still playing right guard.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.