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What made Nick Saban go on rant ahead of Alabama's game vs. FCS opponent Mercer?

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Alabama football coach Nick Saban checked many of the FCS-opponent week boxes with a rant to kick off his weekly Wednesday news conference ahead of the game against Mercer.

Rat poison? Check.

Social media? Check.

Poor practice? Well you get the point.

Upon making his opening statement, Saban made clear he's not happy with the Crimson Tide's preparation right now.

Here's what he said after he walked to the lectern:

"Several years ago it was the sixth or seventh game of the year, we just beat Texas A&M and people started talking about our team and I had to bring everyone’s attention to, what I refer to as ‘rat poison,'" Saban said "So now, we’ve basically played, one half of one game. Aight. We went ahead 27-0 in the game and then it was basically 17-16 after that with two stops inside the 5-yard line. So we didn’t maintain our intensity in the game so we were affected by the scoreboard, so we haven’t proven that we can play for 60 minutes."

Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA;  Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban discusses a call with an official at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Alabama defeated Miami 44-13. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban discusses a call with an official at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Alabama defeated Miami 44-13. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

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Then, Saban said the team came out Monday and was not really ready to practice.

He wasn't sure if it's because of respect for the opponent or what they read on social media and in the media.

"Then it was hot yesterday," Saban continued, "so, we’ve got every external factor in the world that is affecting our ability to maintain intensity and play the way we need to play and practice the way we need to practice to improve. The scoreboard affects us, who we’re playing affects us, the heat affects us, the media and what you guys write everyday affects us. So, to me we’ve got to prove that we can play and maintain intensity for 60 minutes in the game, execute and do our job, finish games, finish plays and do things the way we’re supposed to do it."

As far as how the leadership responds to the lackluster practice, that is something he'll have to see, Saban said. He added that he wants to know if "people care enough to understand what we have to do to maintain our intensity for 60 minutes in the game."

Saban noted that there are some guys doing the right thing and setting a good example, but not all are. Some, however, need to better understand what it takes to practice and prepare, Saban said.

"Some people have the idea that exertion through the course of the week some kind of way impairs your ability to play on Saturday," Saban said. "But really, you gotta have exertion through the week to be ready to play on Saturday."

Saban added the key to that is how they take care of themselves in the way they hydrate, recover, use the sports science center and technology.

"You know," Saban said, "I think we got some guys that got it backwards and we’re trying to get it fixed.”

They will have that opportunity on Saturday against Mercer in the first game at Bryant-Denny Stadium with full capacity allowed since the pandemic.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Nick Saban goes on rant ahead of the Alabama football game vs. Mercer