University of Alabama

Alabama football notes: Injuries creeping up on Crimson Tide; coach Nick Saban discusses movie role

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Whether it was good luck or superior conditioning, Alabama blew through the 2008 regular season with few bumps and bruises.

Only losses came with less frequency than injuries to impact players last year.

That good fortune, however, did not follow the Crimson Tide into 2009. The season hadn’t started before one player tore his anterior cruciate ligament and the flu swept through the team.

“Day-to-day” is the most frequent, yet unwelcomed, words uttered in coach Nick Saban’s news conferences as nagging injuries pile up. That label was attached to three important players as the third-ranked Tide prepares for No. 9 LSU’s visit Saturday.

Before the season, Saban credited the offseason conditioning for avoiding injuries that typically come with football. The conditioning routine hasn’t changed, but the injuries have returned.

Colin Peek, starting tight end and the team’s second-leading receiver, headlines the hobbled with a freak knee sprain suffered in the pregame warm-ups before the Oct. 24 Tennessee game. He wore a brace on his left knee in practice Wednesday while wearing a black non-contact jersey. Saban said Peek practiced “a little bit” Tuesday and Wednesday.

But his status for Saturday: day-to-day.

Michael Williams, second on the depth chart at tight end, took most of the snaps in Peek’s place against the Vols with limited success. He caught one pass for 4 yards as one of four tight ends who spent time at the position.

Saban’s movie role

Saban’s big screen debut that is just weeks away almost never happened.

Addressing a question about his cameo role in “The Blind Side,” Saban said he originally turned down the small part in the movie adaptation of the book that chronicles the story of former Mississippi and current Baltimore Raven offensive lineman Michael Oher.

“I don’t want to say any names, but someone who is a very influential person called me and asked me to do it for Michael Oher and the Tuohy family, and I ended up doing it,” Saban said.

The fact that he played himself who was, at the time the movie was set, the LSU head coach was a concern.

“My heart’s here, so nobody has to worry about that of that stuff, especially this week,” Saban said in reference to Alabama’s showdown with LSU on Saturday.

The movie making experience was a good one, Saban said, although he wasn’t initially impressed with the writing of his few lines. He didn’t think portrayal of a recruiting visit were accurate from a dialogue standpoint.

The director’s response: “Say it however you want to say it.”

Saban has yet to see the film set for release Nov. 20, but some of his screen time has already been revealed in television ads. In one trailer, star Sandra Bullock’s character calls Saban “extremely handsome” in a line Saban said mirrored the actual recruiting visit made to home of Oher’s adopted family.