Everyone’s always trying to read Nick Saban’s mood when he steps off the practice field Wednesday and into the media room.
Happy — or at least not mad?
You be the judge from the video, but it was quickly clear Saban was speaking with a little more volume from the moment he stepped to the podium for this weekly ritual.
As always, this was a moment to speak to his team through the cameras. There were no rants Wednesday, though he was still looking to send a message back downstairs in the Mal Moore Athletic Facility.
"Well, I think it’s a lot like I’ve said before," were the first words Saban said. "In games like this it doesn’t really matter what your record is or what everybody is saying out there about anything that you’ve done to this point or haven’t done to this point whether it’s good, bad or indifferent."
The theme of the week seems to be not overlooking Tennessee in the face of the reality facing the Vol program. It hasn’t scored a touchdown in two games, sits at 3-3 and there’s considerable tension between the public and coach Butch Jones.
Later asked about keeping the team mentally sharp this week, Saban practically spoke right to his team.
Having the wrong mindset in practice has a trickle-down effect.
"That’s when you create bad habits," Saban said. "That’s when you end up showing up at the game not ready to play. That’s when you get in the game and you sort of have this arrogant attitude about how you prepared. Things don’t go like you want them to go in the game so you get frustrated. Then all of a sudden, top-10 teams get beat. That’s how they get beat.
"I think everybody in our organization needs to understand that. It’s everybody’s choice. You choose all this stuff. You choose your energy. You choose how you want to practice. You choose how you get ready to play You choose how you respect the other team."
Alabama (7-0) goes for its 11th straight win over Tennessee at 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Michael Casagrande is an Alabama beat writer for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande.