HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- When University of Alabama coach Nick Saban addressed the media at the first stop of the Crimson Caravan in Huntsville, Ala., on Tuesday, it was his first opportunity to speak after watching tape of A-Day.
The sixth-year coach of the Crimson Tide had 72 hours to digest the culmination of spring practice, and when asked what stood out, his answer was equal parts blunt and simplistic.
“The one thing I took away from it is the one team that turned the ball over four times lost,” Saban said. The White team had four turnovers in a 24-19 loss to the Crimson squad. Quarterback AJ McCarron gave the ball away three times, including an interception on the first play of the game. “One of the most significant statistics in football about winning and losing is turning the ball over.”
Last season the Tide had the third fewest turnovers lost in the country with 12 -- the same exact number as in 2009 when Alabama won the BCS championship in Pasadena, Calif.
“I hope that’s one of the things our players take from this that if you turn the ball over you don’t really have a good chance of being successful,” Saban said. “That’s one thing we’ve been able to do in the past. Last year we took care of the ball and didn’t have a lot of turnovers. Our turnover ratio was very good.”
The turnover ratio of the offseason might be summed up as two to one. Alabama began the year with two Coaches’ Trophy crystal footballs to commemorate the 2011 title. On Saturday, UA lost one when a current player’s father accidentally sent the trophy crashing to the floor into pieces.
On Tuesday, Saban shared his own “oops” moment from his time at LSU.
“I fell off my boat and about killed myself once cleaning up after taking the kids wakeboarding,” Saban said, grinning. “That could have been real disastrous. Breaking the crystal ball, even though it’s very meaningful, nobody got hurt, nobody meant to do any harm and I’m sure we can replace it. I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I certainly don’t want the parent of the player who had the mishap to feel bad about what happened.
“I went oops and fell off my boat and hit my head and ended up sitting at the bottom of the lake. That was a bad oops.”
“It is what it is,” Saban said. “It’s not up to me, it’s up to them. I don’t need to spend time speculating on what they’re going to do. I have two adolescents at home and I can’t predict what they’re going to do, so I’m not going to predict what these guys are going to do. If they do what they’re supposed to do, they play on our team. Alright? If they don’t, they won’t.”
Alabama players will spend this week lifting weights followed by what Saban called a “shutdown” period heading into finals.