May 8, 2008
Saban: Summer enrollers have edge
A high percentage of Alabama's incoming freshman football signees will enroll for the first summer term in about a month. And coach Nick Saban left no doubts about his opinion on the advantage for recruits who arrive early.
"It's the intention of every one of our freshmen that we recruited that they will come in early, if they can get certified academically through the clearinghouse in time," Saban said. "... It's a tremendous advantage for a freshman to come in for summer school."
Saban spoke to assembled media Thursday prior to the Bryant-Denny Stadium stop for the Crimson Caravan, a series of Saban speaking engagements during the offseason. On-field coaches are not permitted to work with incoming freshmen prior to fall camp, but strength and conditioning coaches are.
A strong contingent of last year's signing class enrolled for the first summer term as well. And according to Saban, the advantage goes beyond football.
"You get yourself in better condition, make an academic transition because you're in summer school, and socially you're going to get to know the people around and your teammates a lot better and it's a little bit easier way to transition into being part of a new team."
ACADEMIC PROGRESS - Saban also remarked on the recent release of academic progress among NCAA institutions, which included penalties in the form of scholarship cuts for some schools - Alabama not among them.
"We have a great facility ... John Dever has done a fantastic job in terms of what he does, and we've always used a system of checks and balances with players. ... It takes a lot of manpower and a lot of investment of time to monitor, but it also develops the right kind of habits in guys."
CLEMSON PREP - With a tough non-conference game looming on August 30, the challenge posed by the Clemson Tigers in the Georgia Dome will be a far cry from the rollover season opener the Crimson Tide enjoyed against Western Carolina in 2007.
Saban said some advance work in preparing for the Tigers is a given.
"Obviously early opponents you want to do more work on because you're not going to get any new information or any new games to view before you play them," Saban said. "We have all the information we need, as they do, relative to what we're going to see from Clemson. So we can do planning. ... We do a little bit more specific work on the first three opponents."
ETC. - Saban said the NCAA's ruling on tight end Colin Peek - who transferred from Georgia Tech in January - is being appealed by the Peek family. Under NCAA rules, transfers from one Division I-A school to another must sit out a season before being eligible.
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