Alabama once again brought in the top recruiting class during the 2019 cycle, but Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Wednesday he didn’t expect to have to use so many of those key new additions so soon.

Saban even admitted he can’t recall ever having to rely on so many freshmen, saying “These guys have been thrust into duty before we thought they would.”

The Alabama coach didn’t elaborate too much on how it’s changed his team’s game day philosophy, but he did say the Crimson Tide don’t “want to ask players to do things they don’t know how to do,” so with that in mind, playing a lot of freshmen “can be limiting at times.”

Alabama has been dealing with a plethora of injuries, particularly on defense where the Crimson Tide could start three freshmen this Saturday against Southern Miss. Defensive end LaBryan Ray is the latest injury for the Crimson Tide. Ray injured his foot in Week 3 and could possibly be out long term.

Here’s what else Saban said during his Wednesday press conference:

  • On the value of having continuity on the OL: I know it has always been the perception with people, including in the media, that you need five starters in the OL.. but in reality, you don’t always have that… those guys have to practice together, so I don’t think it’s that uncommon that they switch roles… in the OL, continuity can be beneficial with the guys working together.
  • On being named to the Louisiana Hall of Fame: It’s a fantastic honor for me, and I’m certainly… it’s humbling. So many people contribute to the success we have had… I feel that when you get an honor like this, you are accepting it for all those folks.
  • On running the RPO and dealing with OL getting downfield: I think it’s more based on the timing of the ball has to come out quick, so you are counting on the ball coming out before the lineman can get downfield…
  • Scouting DeVonta Smith: Smitty has done a good job for us this year, but he did a good job for us last year… All of these WRs are capable for us… we aren’t going to apologize for getting these guys the ball… good special teams guy, he contributes to the team in a number of different ways.