The Alabama defense, which was hit hard by injuries early in the season, has shown some improvement, coach Nick Saban said, especially with younger players.

“We see different things from week to week and when you don’t have experience, those things can be difficult to adapt to,” Saban said on the SEC media teleconference. “We have gone through those growing pains and we couldn’t ask more from these guys this year. … We are pleased with the progress of the young players. we are going to continue to work with them because we continue to see new challenges each week… the other players on the team have been supportive… we will have an opportunity to see where we are at (against LSU).”

Saban also noted the pass rush seeing more contributions.

“I think having guys that are good pass rushers… (Christian Barmore) has grown into a better pass rusher, with (Raekwon Davis), the personnel has gotten better and I think those guys have done a good job of pass rushing and I think we want even more guys to contribute in that area,” he said.

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Forcing tackles for loss with pressure is a pick-your-poison kind of situation for Saban.

“I think anytime you pressure people and the best way to get tackles for a loss are to move people but when you do that, you sacrifice coverage on the backend, leave some one-on-ones … we haven’t done it as much this year with an experience factor with the young players,” Saban said.

Here’s what else Saban said on the call:

  • On TE moving forward: The guys that we have are the guys that we have. we have played 3 or 4 guys at that position… we will have to continue to rotate them in that same fashion.
  • On No. 1 vs No. 2 game and what it’s like playing in these games: I think when you play in our league, there’s always the possibility that you will play a really good team and I know LSU is a really good team. I’m not big on the rankings… We will have to prepare to the best of our ability and I think I’m more focused on that stuff than anything else.
  • On LSU’s offense: They are completely different on offense, they have changed the system… it is a real (challenge) for anyone that plays for them.