TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama is being extra cautious with star running back T.J. Yeldon.
Yeldon, who has battled ankle and hamstring injuries for much of the season, has been limited in practice. In fact, Yeldon hasn't participated in any drills this week during the media's viewing periods of practice.
"It's a medical decision as to what would be the best way for him to be able to come back and be most effective playing," Tide coach Nick Saban said following practice Saturday. "That decision was to really limit what he does until we come back after Christmas."
Yeldon leads the Tide with 932 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Earlier this season, Saban called Yeldon the Tide's most complete back in terms of running the ball, catching the ball out of the backfield and also pass protection.
Going forward, Saban said the focus will be on maintenance for Yeldon's injuries in order to maximize his effectiveness in the coming game or games.
"He's done a lot of rehab, a lot of conditioning type stuff that is not going to put strain on the hamstring and some of the injuries he's had," Saban said. "We're trying to use this extra time to get him healthy rather than staying on this treadmill of where he really never gets better. That's the plan. If that works, we'll feel great about it and he'll be healthy when the game comes."
Ohio State mirrors Mississippi State
After Tide defensive lineman Jonathan Allen mentioned the similarities between Ohio State and Mississippi State, Saban expanded upon it on Saturday.
Ohio State and Mississippi State run similar offensive schemes built around the threat of having a mobile quarterback.
"There are similarities, they certainly have different kinds of players, very good skill players, very good running back," Saban said. "We're not sure about how much we've seen of the quarterback but their quarterback has done a really good job the past two years whether it was Braxton Miller when he played or (J.T.) Barrett when he played because they were great runners and great athletes and that combination was very, very difficult on a lot of people and difficult for us when we played a team like that."
The connection comes from when Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen worked as the offensive coordinator under Ohio State coach Urban Meyer when the two were at Florida. While they are similar, Saban thinks the Buckeyes' offense has adapted an identity of its own.
"I think the way they do it, they have their own style of doing it, and I think they've progressed," Saban said. "This is a very, very good offensive team that has been very, very productive and they've got really good players and they do a great job with them and this is going to be a real big challenge for us in this game."