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Nick Saban On Your FIU Panthers

The first game week of the season is upon us and FIU's first opponent's coach had his weekly press conference today with the Alabama writers. Below are questions from the Alabama writers and what Nick Saban Saban had to say about your Panthers....

Saban (left): "I think FIU is a young team and has a lot of players coming back. They made a significant amount of improvement from year one to year two. They actually have a lot of speed, a lot of team speed. They are a wide-open throw the ball vertical passing game. The quarterback is back and he had a good year last year. Their receiver No. 4 (T.Y.) Hilton (below, right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) is as good a player as anybody in the country. I think he was way up there in all-purpose yards or led the country in all-purpose yards last year. They haven’t had a game and there are some differences in depth chart from last spring to last year to where it is right now. I think they might have had some guys out last year that are going to come back and play, especially defensively. This is one of those games that we need to focus on what we need to do to improve as a team. It’s going to be very important that we make a significant improvement from week one to week two."


Coach, given it’s location in South Florida where there’s so much talent, is FIU the type of program where you can see maybe building what others in the past have if the resources wereHilton there and they were able to keep some of that talent at home?

NS: "Well, they have. I think 90 percent of their team is from the state of Florida; maybe more than that, I did not count it all up. They have good players. They have a lot better players than what you think they have. They have lots of team speed and they have made significant progress -- as I mentioned from year one to year two -- and they are going to have a better team this year in my opinion. So, this is going to be a completely different challenge for us. They have a lot of great skill guys, a lot of speed on the field. They are wide open, spread out all over the place, guys getting the ball that can run with it in space. It will be a challenge for us defensively and they’ve got really good team speed on defense. I do think this is a program that can be successful."

Coach, heading into this week’s practice and the game on Saturday, how confident are you that this team, this program, has the ability to stay on an even keel and not have any kind of letdown from when you go from an opening game against Virginia Tech to an FIU?

NS: "I don’t have confidence in anything, OK? I just know what we need to do to go about it so they don’t have a letdown. And we’ll certainly do our best from a technical standpoint. Because it really isn’t about who we’re playing. You know, if you’ve got the right kind of attitude on your team, it’s about who you are and how you want to play. And I’ve talked about this over and over and over again.

"If you’re playing against someone who’s really good, that means that that person determines how you play. And if you’re playing somebody that – and I’m not saying this about FIU, I’m just saying – the other guy is not quite as talented, so that means you played poorly. Well, that doesn’t speak very well to the kind of competitor you are and the kind of player you are. I think the great players (don’t care who they play). I don’t think Kobe Bryant (right in photo) cares who he plays against. I don’t think LeBron James (left in photo) cares who is Nba guarding him. He’s trying to be the best player he can be and that’s what we want our team to do, that’s what we want our individual players to do. What do I have to do to be the best player I can be and how can I do that and how can I do it on a consistent basis? It shouldn’t be determined by the opponent, whether it’s Virginia Tech or whoever it might be. That shouldn’t matter. Just like the scoreboard shouldn’t matter. So what you’re asking me is, if we’re 14 points ahead, am I confident that we’ll keep playing? And if we’re 14 points behind, am I confident we’ll keep playing? That’s how we should be conditioned because that shouldn’t matter.

"If I want to be a great player, I should be playing my best on every play. Six seconds, every play like it has a history and a life of its own in a game, to execute, do my job, do it with effort, do it with toughness, do it with discipline, execute the technique and all those things necessary to be successful on that play. That’s what good football teams do and if we’re going to be a good football team, that’s what we need to do.

"So I’m not confident of anything. I just know that’s the plan and that’s what we’re going to try and get implemented to the players. And we need to have that personality if we’re going to be able to improve andTy make the progress that we need to make.

"I also want to say in no uncertain terms you’re a typical fan, which you all can be. That’s fine. But I respect the people that we’re playing, I respect our opponents. I want our players to respect our opponents. And this guy, No. 4 (T.Y. Hilton), (right) is a better offensive player than anybody that we played against last week. You understand that? Whatever your perception is of what they ought to be, I don’t think it’s that. And I don’t want our players to think that, either. Now, as fans, you all can think that as much as you want. And you create that perception, which just creates more problems for me because the players read the paper, too.

"Now, is that a good one to end on or you want to ask something else?"


That's a good one to end on, Nick.

Aaapaw Log on and join us on our preseason LIVE BLOG tommorrow (Tuesday) at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time as we'll go over the first FIU depth chart of the season and at the same time test out the new LIVE BLOG program we'll be using for games this season.

We'll go LIVE BLOGGING from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. or until the last possible question if we got a goodLive preseason blog going. I will play more than just 1 quarter in Tuesday's blog.

By dropping a comment, any comment during the LIVE BLOG, your name can be cleared for posting comments on LIVE BLOGS for the remainder of the season. The new program requires me to clear each screen name that wants to post comments.

Aaapaw The 3rd Annual Win A GPP Blog Predictions contest is open and will be taking your scores for FIU/Alabama until 6:59 p.m. Eastern GPP time on Saturday, Sept. 12. For contest rules, regulations and prizes information read the previous post on the GPP.


CarolinaGoldenPanther: Pete, any news on the "huge" recruits PG was talking about on the radio last week? Any idea when they'll announce these recruits?

PP: Nothing new. Word on these guys could come anytime between now and signing day in November. Knight is definitely on FIU's radar.




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