The No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide football program had an off week at the perfect time after a strong start to the season. With a 7-1 record in their first eight games, the team was able to enjoy an emotional victory over Tennessee, a team that had defeated them in the 2022 season. Now, their focus turns to their upcoming clash with LSU, a team that also managed to defeat the Crimson Tide last year.
Coach Nick Saban had discussed the off week plan last week, emphasizing the importance of limiting the work load while preparing for the remaining three SEC opponents on the schedule. While Saban took some time off to celebrate his birthday at his lake house with his family, other leaders of the Alabama program stayed in Tuscaloosa and continued to work.
"Grind don't stop. We in the season. Grind don't stop. We're trying to improve, get better," said Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe. "I took the bye week as a chance to increase my mental capacity as far approaching the game and as far as the physical standpoint, resting, taking care of my body so I can really take some big strides this week."
Milroe wasn't the only one who stayed in town and worked throughout the off weekend. Inside linebacker Deontae Lawson also chose to remain in Tuscaloosa and prioritize recovery. "I actually stayed in Tuscaloosa. I tried to chill out and recover as much as I can," said Lawson.
While enjoying the off weekend is certainly a priority, getting back into the swing of the season immediately is crucial with the highly-ranked LSU Tigers coming to town. The Tigers boast the nation's No. 1 offense and have the potential to create chaos in the SEC West with a victory.
"I think that you want your players -- as I alluded to before -- to enjoy their time off. But you also want them to be focused and ready to go when they come back. There's a balance in all that. You can't dissipate and go not eat right and (not) do the right things while you're off," said Saban. "You can still enjoy yourself but you also can stay focused on what you need to do when you come back. I think that's a combination and balance in all that. Balance in life is important in about everything that you do. So that kind of balance can create very positive results for you when you come back and you're ready to go. If you didn't think about your job, what your responsibility is, one minute for three days, you're probably not going to benefit very much from the time you had off."