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Everything Nick Saban said Monday of Oklahoma preparation

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama head coach Nick Saban held a press conference Monday following the Crimson Tide’s fourth Orange Bowl practice. Below is everything Saban said in his first media availability since the Crimson Tide started on-field preparation for Oklahoma.

Opening statement…

“We had three practices Friday, Saturday and today that were pretty much camp-like, fundamental practices. The players had good energy, good enthusiasm for what we’re trying to get accomplished each day. Today was the first practice that we’ve been able to go outside. It’s really the first practice that we really emphasized starting preparation for Oklahoma. We gave the players a lot of information today on both sides of the ball, and I think the players were excited to get back to…When you’re in game mode, you know Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday you’re doing something each day to get ready for the game. And I think they were pretty excited to get back into that, because that’s kind of what they look forward to.

“Obviously, the team that we play presents a lot of challenges for us. This is one of probably the most prolific offenses in college football, especially this year. They’re first in a lot of categories, including points scored, so we have a lot of work to do. We’re excited about graduation on Saturday, where I think we had 15 or so guys graduate and that brings to 22 graduates on our roster, which brings our total to 150 guys in the last 60 guys that played their last game here with a degree. So we’re pretty proud of that, and want to congratulate all the players who graduated last weekend.”

On how to simulate Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray…

“I don’t know that you really can. The guy is so quick, so fast, so talented. Makes really good decisions, makes them fast. Does a great job of executing their offense, understands it well. They’ve got a really good system and a really good scheme and a complimentary play that goes with the last play. They do a really good job. I don’t know that you can. If we have somebody that can duplicate what he does, we’d be playing them. Obviously the guy won the Heisman Trophy and is the best player in college football. Anybody that has had success throwing the ball as well as the rushing totals that he has and the explosive plays that he’s made when they run the ball, it’s pretty difficult to try to get someone to simulate that.”

On seeing fans embrace Jalen Hurts…

“I think it speaks a lot of him and his character. I think a lot of people recognize the fact that he put the team first. He stayed here and focused on improving, trying to get better, trying to help the team, getting ready for any opportunity that might present itself for him. I think we played to get him ready for that. When it did in the last game, the SEC championship game, he certainly came through in fine fashion. But I think it’s not just a good win or something that’s good for Jalen. I think it’s a great message for all young people in all sports, that sometimes things don’t go exactly like you want them to go. But perseverance, sticking with something, trying to overcome adversity, there’s a lot of value in that. I think Jalen created a lot of value for himself by doing what he did, and I think our fans really appreciate that and show that appreciation every time they get the opportunity, which I’m really happy about and happy for him. I’m really, really proud of what he’s been able to do this year. Getting the most inspirational player kind of shows he affected his teammates even when he wasn’t playing.” 

On Tua Tagovailoa’s progress…

“He’s doing well. I think he’s probably ahead of schedule. He’s been able to take a lot of reps. He’s been able to throw the ball from the pocket. He can run. I don’t think he’s 100 percent in terms of change of direction yet. But he’s already going 100 percent on the gravity treadmill. So he’s been able to practice and he’s made really, really good progress. So we’re encouraged by that.”

On weighing personal lives when considering bringing a coach like D.J. Durkin in…

“Your choice of words there, ‘You decide to bring someone,’ — I made a statement about this earlier. We’ve had numerous coaches come here and observe bowl preparation in the past and they don’t really have any impact on the program, they don’t really have any impact on the players. So I certainly don’t want anything to be viewed as a negative from our program or our standpoint. But I made a statement about it, he’s not been hired here, he’s not a part of the program here, he’s strictly here to observe. When we have these people do that, if they have any good ideas for us we certainly welcome them. I think there’s a lot of coaches out there when they don’t have jobs they like to be able to be involved in some kind of way.” 

On Eyabi Anoma’s status…

“I haven’t really had the opportunity to visit with him. He has a personal day, I guess, to sort some things out. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get him back on track here soon.”

On Deonte Brown’s progress…

“He’s practicing. He’s doing well. He’s probably not 100 percent yet, but he’s making good progress and we’re encouraged by it.”

Full video of press conference…

Contact Charlie Potter by 247Sports’ personal messaging or on Twitter (@Charlie_Potter).

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