- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
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Nick Saban's time on the weekly SEC football coaches teleconference was short, just over 5 minutes in length, but fruitful. The sixth-year coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide talked about motivating his team, the improvement in the kicking game and the value of getting young players experience in game situations.
Here are the highlights from the Q&A:
Opening statement: "We tried to emphasize with our team to demand more of themselves so that we can improve as a team and be the best we can be, and hopefully play our best when our best is needed. We certainly try to challenge our players to do that. It's human nature to get motivated when something bad happens. But why do you need one of these 'I told you so' games and just respond by doing what you need to do to be the best that you can be.
"If you asked a great player like Peyton Manning or Michael Jordan, they could probably write a novel on what you need to do to get better. If you asked some average guy on the street, he'd probably have to think about it."
On kicker Cade Foster's improvement: "He's kicking the ball better than he did a year ago. I think he's tightened up his technique. He's always had a really strong leg. The struggle has always been consistency. He's kicking field goals better. He's hitting the ball better. Even though he's missed a couple long ones, he's made a couple long ones. The ones he missed were certainly long enough."
On fighting complacency, mediocrity: "There's a lot of things we do very well. Sometimes if you're a baseball pitcher, you pitch a really good game and lose. You pitch the best, you strike out a lot of guys, you get a lot of guys out, but something happens in a game and you lose. Sometimes you pitch a game and play OK, you play better, you pitch pretty good, but you end up winning. But the big thing is, at the end of all that, you sort of self-analyze what you did and how you did it and how you can improve it so you can pitch better the next time. That's what we're trying to get our guys to do. ... We have a lot of things that we need to improve ourselves on so we can be the best that we can be, so we can play our best and be our best when our best is needed."
On the value playing time for rookies: "Some guys that are younger guys that probably have less experience, I think the experience that they gain playing games is invaluable. That actually enhances their improvement. We have a really young team and we have a lot of guys that need to focus on doing things fundamentally better."
3dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough