Alabama’s been in playoff mode for weeks now, with every win advancing its standing and every potential loss serving as a season-ender. This week is no different as the Crimson Tide prepare for their match up in Atlanta with SEC East champion Missouri.
“This is a new season,” Saban said. “We look forward to the challenges of the future, what we need to do as a team to play a very, very good team in the SEC Championship game.”
This new season requires healthy players, and Alabama will need two key starters to return this weekend.
Offensive lineman Cam Robinson went down against Auburn with a sprained shoulder and will be limited in practice early this week.
“We’re hopeful he’ll be able to practice tomorrow,” Saban said. “When guys get hurt like this, you have to see the day-to-day reaction to see how they’ll perform.”
This is the second significant injury this year for Robinson, who was previously sidelined with a high ankle sprain. But with a bye week coming at an opportune time, the star true freshman didn’t miss any playing time. Robinson’s reliability will be needed this Saturday when Alabama faces Missouri’s solid pass rush.
Linebacker Ryan Anderson has a similar injury to Robinson’s and is also day-to-day with his shoulder sprain.
“Hopefully he’ll do some things today in practice and he’ll be a little bit like Cam in terms of how does he respond to the work,” Saban said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to practice more tomorrow.”
Anderson was injured during the game and went to the locker room for care, but he did return to the game.
The Iron Bowl saw the mostly healthy return of T.J. Yeldon, DeAndrew White and Amari Cooper who were either held out or injured during the game against Western Carolina. Even quarterback Blake Sims rolled his ankle against Auburn but wasn’t hampered by it in the second half. Tight end Brian Vogler and wide receiver ArDarius Stewart did not play in the Iron Bowl.
With this “new season” on the horizon and every game serving as a single elimination contest, each healthy player could be critical for Alabama’s title hopes.