TUSCALOOSA -- As Alabama begins preparation for Virginia Tech, scout team players become nearly as vital to the team as starters.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and a few veterans praised the players who give the Tide a sense of what to expect from its opponent.
"They're going to have to help us get ready for every game that we play," Saban said. "And the good job that they do, which really goes sort of unnoticed. Nobody ever gets any credit for, nobody ever really talks about, they don't even get to dress sometimes for the game because of the numbers limitations that we have - those guys are going to be some of the most important guys on the team right now.
"They're going to help prepare the team so that they get the right look, so that they can be well prepared to play and react quickly and fast in the game."
Senior cornerback Deion Belue also noted the importance of scout team players, particularly the wide receivers.
"You have to have the utmost respect for them because they come out and practice as hard as us," Belue said. "We rely on them to give us the best look possible. I respect them. I know it's tough for them. It's tough on us."