Alabama coach Nick Saban has said multiple times this week that when he calls QB Tua Tagovailoa to cheer him up, it turns out that the quarterback in turn cheers him up.

“I talked to him every day, Saturday, Sunday, yesterday, he is in good spirits, he is doing well,” Saban said on the SEC media teleconference. “All indications from the surgery are positive, from a medical standpoint. I think he understands the rehab he has and the difficulty he will have. he knows how to overcome adversity and he has a positive attitude about it.”

Coming off of the Mississippi State game, Saban was asked about the improvement of the Alabama secondary.

“I think we saw two different offenses, number one,” Saban said. “We played the best passing team in the country then we played a team that focuses on the run. Our secondary had nice eye control… I think we matched up on their players better, so there’s a lot that goes into that aside from stats.”

In terms of backup QB Mac Jones taking over, Saban said, “to be a leader, you have to be the lead dog.”

“Mac is a very bright guy,” Saban said, “he really understands the concepts of what we are trying to do… You have to have positive body language because you affect other people. I thought when he had the opportunity to play, he’s done well. We have confidence in him.”

The Crimson Tide play Western Carolina this week, but the Iron Bowl looms next week with the Auburn defensive line.

“You have to look at those guys and see how you match up to them, no different than in the secondary,” he said. “I think, personnel is a big part of any planning you do on either side of the ball, particularly on offense.”

Here’s what else Saban said on the call:

  • On Najee Harris: I think he’s played really well. He’s playing his best football of the year, I think a lot of that has to do with confidence… it’s showing in his production.
  • On Harris’ leadership with other guys’ going down: I think Najee is, all guys have to lead by their personality, you can’t ask them to be different than who they are. He leads by example, he is a good practice player. He is not a talker but he does lead by example. It’s important to have that on the team, just as much as it is guys talking (to lead).
  • On Bama’s OL: Our offensive line has done a good job all year, I think. Pass pro, good job. We’ve been more physical up front and that’s helped us be more balanced on offense.
  • On correcting tackling issues: We need to thud. I think the most important thing, without tackling, is to put yourself into a position to make the tackle. and we always harp on the guys to do that… I do think we tackled better against Mississippi State.