TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The wait is almost over. Less than two weeks from now, Alabama will begin spring practice.
The Crimson Tide has already participated in its Fourth Quarter program and other offseason workouts. And Saban has liked the little of what he's seen thus far.
"I see a lot of players sort of working on the sort of kind of connection that you need on a team to have a chance to develop the kind of team chemistry that you'd like to have," Saban said. "We've had a really good offseason so far. And hopefully it'll carry right into the spring. There's obviously a lot of questions that we have on the team that we'd like to answer during the spring."
Without getting into the specifics of each position, Saban noted a few things he'll be looking forward to seeing play out during spring workouts.
"Well I think any place where you have an opening on your team, however it was created, by graduation, or a player leaving for the draft or whatever," Saban said. "You're always anxious to see how the players that are competing for those positions, the kind of improvement that they make. I think No. 2 is, most of the time, freshman players make a huge sort of improvement between -- especially the guys that come in during the fall -- make a huge improvement between the fall and the spring and next fall. So you're always kind of anxious to see how those guys progress and develop."
Alabama will begin spring practice March 15 and continue through April 19 when the Tide holds its annual A-Day spring game in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
While it appeared that Alabama was distancing itself from Dee Hart following his February arrest, that may not be the case. Alabama coach Nick Saban said Hart made the decision to leave the program following the Sugar Bowl.
"Well, and I probably should have made this announcement to you guys. But when we finish the bowl game, I meet with all the players," Saban said during a meeting with reporters on Wednesday. "At times, there's fifth year guys that graduate and decide they don't want to come back or whatever. Then there's guys that can graduate in May and have an opportunity to go someplace else and be immediately eligible. And that was Dee Hart's situation. That's what he said he wanted to do."
Saban said there are no other fifth-year players who have decided to give up their final year of eligibility. Saban praised Hart for his work with the team.
"His role on our team, he's done a good job as a special teams player, but he wanted to try and go some place where he could have a role as a running back," Saban said. "And we were supportive of his decision to do that."
Saban on Dickson, Kamara
Two Alabama players were suspended before the Sugar Bowl and only one will be back with the team once spring practice begins. Saban said linebacker Xzavier Dickson has "done fine" since his suspension. Dickson appeared in 12 games last year and had 13 tackles.
As for running back Alvin Kamara, Saban said he was suspended from the team "for good." He also said Kamara is no longer in school at Alabama "by his choice." Kamara will transfer to Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
"Not that I know of that I can think of right now. I guess when these things happen on the roster I should probably release them. I'll try to do that in the future. It happened so long ago, I don't even remember."