Nick Saban gives final update before Alabama’s SEC opener at Vanderbilt

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2017, file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban answers questions during a news conference for the NCAA college football playoff championship game in Tampa, Fla. It's Nick Saban and Alabama's turn at Southeastern Conference media days. The contingent from the Crimson Tide, the popular pick to win a fourth straight SEC title, makes the short trip from Tuscaloosa and as usual is expected to greeted by a large group of fans in the hotel lobby. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Before the Crimson Tide play their first true road game of the season Saturday, Nick Saban gave a final update on the team and their preparations Wednesday evening.

“The focus has been that we have got to play to our standard, the challenge of playing to our standard on the road,” Saban said. “I think everybody’s got to understand that you’ve got to work to deserve success. You’re never entitled to it, no matter what you’ve accomplished or done in the past, individually or collectively as a team.”

Vanderbilt is also Alabama’s first SEC game of the season, and Saban knows that his team can’t take the Commodores and their top “attacking” defense lightly.

“Everybody’s got to embrace the challenge of the SEC,” he said. “They’re very aggressive, they’ve got a good scheme. They don’t make very many mental errors on defense.

“When I say, ‘Attacking,’ I don’t necessarily mean blitzing attacking, but I’m talking about striking, you know, upfield, being very aggressive, playing downhill with the linebackers and they do a really good job of that.”

Saban believes there isn’t any “magic” to being successful against a team like Vandy, but that it all comes back to execution.

“It’s really going to be important to communicate well so the offensive line can execute and change the calls that they need to make,” Saban said. “We’ve gotta take care of the football against guys like this. They’ve been very ball-hawk oriented in terms of their turnovers.”

For Alabama, ball control has been one of their strong suits. The Crimson Tide have yet to turn the ball over in 2017 and have not given the ball away in 26 straight quarters, the longest streak in the nation.

Alabama and Vanderbilt kickoff at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The game can be seen on WIAT CBS 42.

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