It is a tall order for any backup quarterback to get his third start — and first difficult opponent — in a rivalry game like the Iron Bowl. But that’s what Alabama QB Mac Jones faces this week at Jordan-Hare Stadium against Auburn.

“We have a lot of confidence in Mac,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said at his regular weekly press conference. “He’s played well when he’s had the opportunity to play. I think the team has confidence in him. This is going to be the first game he has to play on the road. So it’ll be a little different from that standpoint for him in terms of game management, things that he has to do to be effective against a very good team. We have every confidence that he’ll be able to manage the game well and do what we need to do to be able to get the ball to the skill players that we have to create balance on offense.”

Saban said Jones, like other current and former Alabama players, is prepared because the practice competition is what makes them better.

Saban was asked about starting Jones out with high percentage passes in recent games.

He said the early throws, “give people confidence and having positive plays. We always try to do that. … Hopefully that enhances your ability to execute.”

Saban was also asked about him telling Jones that he’s not being a sparring partner and the psychological change of going from backup to starter.

“You have to accept the responsibility and the role,” Saban said. “You have to be confident in your ability in that role and your body language has to sort of express that to the players you’re playing with. I think all three of those are probably critical factors in being able to do that. Positive body language is really important. Everybody’s striving to be perfect, nobody really can be. Somewhere along the line you want to hit on exceptional and that’s kind of what we want to get our players to do. But when it doesn’t go the way you’d like for it to go, we’ve got focus on the next play, we’ve got to learn from that play and I think that’s really important for the quarterback not to get at all frustrated about the circumstance and continue to focus on the next play. His teammates need to see that and have confidence in his ability to do that as well.”