TUSCALOOSA — Nick Saban doesn’t like to look back. He prefers to keep his perspective straight ahead.
So it wasn’t too shocking when the Alabama football coach opened his press conference earlier this week talking about just that — looking ahead to Kentucky, and not lamenting on the postponement of the previous weekend’s game against LSU.
“This is the way you play,” Saban said. “You focus on the next play, you focus on today, you focus on this game. That’s what is important for this team to do right now.”
Last week, the SEC announced a tweak to the remainder of the schedule. The league can revise the weekly schedule up to 8 p.m. Monday prior to that week’s games.
“That makes game planning kind of difficult but if we play to the best of our ability it shouldn’t matter who we are playing,” Alabama tight end Miller Forristall said. “It brings new challenges every week, but if we focus on what we need to do, it shouldn’t matter who you play. We should be able to line up Saturday against whoever.”
Right now, Alabama is scheduled to face Kentucky in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. Nothing is set in stone during this season of pandemic, but the Crimson Tide has the Wildcats on its radar, and is not thinking about when or if a game with LSU will happen.
“It’s always hard when you go in one week preparing for an opponent, especially such a big game like LSU,” Forristall said. “I think everyone was looking forward to that. With this year and how crazy it is, you have to be ready to shift gears and we have to get ready and play a good Kentucky team.”
The postponement of the LSU game did give Alabama another off week. However, the Crimson Tide was just coming off a bye week and has not had a game since Halloween.
Off weeks are a good thing, but Saban isn’t so sure having two bye weeks is best for the Crimson Tide. Throw in the fact Alabama has been practicing since August, and the overall health of the team becomes a concern. On top of that, you have the possibility of the makeup game with LSU in December.
“With these add-ons ... if we were in a normal season, this would be in the 11th week,” Saban said. “We practice about as much as it would have been if we were in the 11th game of the season.
“Physically we have been able to take care of our players. Psychologically is the real challenge for them to stay focused on the things they need to continue to do to improve and play at a high level, especially when we are basically halfway through the season.”
It helps psychologically that Alabama is unbeaten heading into the weekend game against Kentucky as a 31-point favorite. Still, the Crimson Tide is taking Saban’s philosophy of living in the now.
“I think you just approach it with the idea of, ‘be where your feet are,’” Alabama center Landon Dickerson said. “Games getting postponed or moved around, we can’t control that. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter. We come here with an open mindset, ready to work and get better.”