Alabama football wants 'business trip' to Texas A&M

Alabama football wants 'business trip' to Texas A&M

Coach Nick Saban's focus singular as Tide prep for Aggies

October 5th, 2017 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Alabama defenders, from left, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Da'Ron Payne, Da'Shawn Hand and Isaiah Buggs don't leave Ole Miss running back Jordan Wilkins any room to run during last Saturday's 66-3 Crimson Tide runaway.

Photo by Kent Gidley Kent Gidley

Alabama's football roster lists 11 players from the state of Texas, including quarterback Jalen Hurts from Houston and defensive back Tony Brown from Beaumont.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban announced a couple of days before the season opener against Florida State that Brown's family had been displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Saban added that Brown's father had battled health problems, "so we're actually helicoptering him to a hotel in College Station."

Alabama will be in College Station this weekend when the top-ranked Tide (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) visit Texas A&M (4-1, 2-0), and Saban was asked Wednesday night after practice if he would be doing anything special for his players who are heading back to Texas for the first time since the widespread flooding.

Saban responded that the university reached out to those players in August and that this was a business trip, and he went back in time to get that point across.

"It's like my dad used to tell me when I went to work at the station," Saban said. "My girlfriend broke up with me, so I was treating the customers bad.

"He said, 'What's wrong with you today?' I said, 'My girlfriend broke up with me.' He said, 'Well, you've got one problem, but if you keep treating the customers bad, you're going to have two more. I'm going to fire you, and then I'm going to whip your (butt) for getting fired. So you're not going to have a girlfriend, you're not going to have a job and you're going to get your tail whipped.'"

Missed tackles

Alabama has used some of its deep wealth at tailback to help simulate Texas A&M's rushers this week in practice. The Crimson Tide, who have averaged 315.6 rushing yards per game this season, and Aggies (255.6) rank first and second in the SEC in rushing offense, with A&M sophomore Trayveon Williams averaging 96 yards a game and 5.8 per carry.

"A couple of them have gone over there and run against our defense to get a few more reps and help our defense play against quality guys," Saban said. "We missed 15 tackles in the last game, which was a season high for us. If we don't tackle any better than that, we're going to struggle in this game."

The Crimson Tide, of course, beat the Rebels 66-3 last Saturday night.

Phone snatcher

In the fourth quarter of last weekend's blowout inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran was caught on camera taking a cellphone from a member of the Crimson Tide production team and putting it in his back pocket as he walked away.

Saban was asked about the incident during Wednesday's SEC teleconference.

"I think if you're going to be on the sidelines, you should be focusing on the game," Saban said. "That's basically the policy. That's basically what we're trying to do. We have a rule that nobody is allowed to have a cellphone on the sidelines, and we have a rule for when you can have your cellphone out in the locker room.

"Obviously it's a focus issue. I don't know what else I can say about it."

Odds and ends

Alabama holds a 7-2 series lead against Texas A&M and has won four straight. ... Saban said sophomore receiver Trevon Diggs (foot) has yet to practice this week and is out for Saturday.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.