Alabama coach Nick Saban’s opening comments at Southeastern Conference Media Days talked about the Tide winning the Disney Spirit Award and finishing second to Stanford in graduation rate last season.
He also said 38 players off of the national championship team made honor roll last season.
Saban talked about the difficulty of replacing 25 percent of his team from last season, including 13 starters.
Freshman receiver Amari Cooper was singled out by Nick Saban as a guy who has a good spring and summer so far.
Saban was asked about him recommending Gary Pinkel to Toledo and said he believes Pinkel will do a good job of bringing Missouri into the SEC.
Barrett Jones has played guard, tackle and now will start at center. Saban said that shows the type competitor and what a special person Jones is.
Playing a tough out of conference opponents in the first game of the season helps players work ethics and preparation during the summer, Saban said. Alabama opens with Michigan this year in Cowboys Stadium.
Saban believes the SEC will continue to grow over the 10 years due to the leadership of commissioner Mike Slive.
Keeping players healthy is the No. 1 thing for Saban and he believes the new kickoff rule will help do that.
Saban said running back Eddie Lacy is recovering fine and he would be able to practice today after recovering from foot surgery last season. All of Alabama’s players are healthy, he said.
Whether it’s playing an eight- or nine-game SEC schedule, Saban likes playing two teams from the opposite division.
When asked if playing a nine-game SEC schedule would hurt the league from getting a national champion Saban said it wouldn’t.
Saban was asked if he would help his former assistant coaches like Florida’s Will Muschamp and he responded with, “I would like to help them every way I can to have the best program they can have for their players.”