TUSCALOOSA, Ala. _ It might have been a foreshadow for reporters when University of Alabama coach Nick Saban wore all black to his first press conference this week.

Most coaches believe that the most a team will improve during the course of a season is between the first and second games, and so with the Crimson Tide having two more weeks before playing its Southeastern Conference opener against Florida he was looking to make a point.

Saban took the opportunity when fielding a question about how not to overlook teams like Saturday’s opponent, Florida Atlantic (noon ET, SEC Network), and Southern Miss next week.

“The focus is on our team getting better,” he said. “If we’re focused on getting better, and that’s really your point of emphasis, not that we don’t respect our opponent, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with who you’re playing. It has everything to do with who you are and how you respond to the challenge of going out and doing the things we need to do to improve and play better. We’re not where we need to be. We’re not the team we can be.

“If you’re challenged by that, then why is it so important? Why is the external factor of who you’re playing have anything to do with how you play? That means if we’re playing against Michael Jordan, we play our best game. If we’re playing against another old basketball player, then we play just like another old basketball player. Is that your thinking on this because it’s not mine. If it’s our players’ thinking, I can tell you right now I’m going to be pretty pissed about it.”

Under first-year coach Charlie Partridge, Florida Atlantic scored on its first drive of the season, 11 plays and 75 yards, against No. 22 Nebraska, only to lose starting quarterback Jaquez Johnson to a shoulder injury. After X-rays were negative he is expected to play against Alabama.

In comparison the Cornhuskers notched points on each of first five possessions en route to racking up 784 total yards, including 498 on the ground, during the 55-7 rout. Of note: FAU was previously coached by Carl Pelini, the brother of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, who was fired last year.

Meanwhile, Southern Miss lost 49-0 at Mississippi State.

Tuesday, which is always the toughest practice of the week for the Crimson Tide and after being inside for days the players worked out in 100-degree heart, junior center Ryan Kelly was the only player to make an appearance in the Alabama media room.

When asked about FAU he said: “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. You never play down to your competition. FAU played a great game. You look at the first couple drives that Nebraska had, FAU held their ground. They could’ve won nine, ten games last year. They had a lot of guys hurt.

“Playing Alabama, we know every week that they’re coming out, giving us their best game ever. We’ve got to be prepared. It’s not about what they do, it’s about what we do.”