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April 17, 2012

HURT: Some fumbles are forgivable

With his players, Nick Saban remains a fanatic about ball security.

When it comes to crystal ball security, he is a bit more forgiving.

Those were two of the Tuesday tidbits of information that came from Saban, who was in Huntsville for the first of the nine stops on the Crimson Caravan, the University's traveling spring goodwill and fund-raising tour.

Saban gave the same answer about the Crimson team's A-Day loss as I would have given had they interviewed the media coaches (no one did) - too many turnovers.

"One thing that I hope the players took away from the film was the team that turned the ball over four times lost," Saban said. "It's one of the most significant statistics in football. We've managed to have good ball security here, because we emphasize it."

Quarterback AJ McCarron threw three interceptions and tight end Michael Williams lost a fumble while fighting for late-game yardage as the Crimson team dropped a 24-15 decision.

"When you turn over the ball, you don't have a chance," Saban said. "With four turnovers, they were lucky they didn't get beat worse than they did."

By far the most publicized fumble of the week, though, didn't come at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Instead, it happened at the Mal Moore Athletic Complex, where the Crimson Tide's recently acquired BCS Championship Trophy finished the weekend in a shattered state.

"You guys will make a story out of anything," a bemused Saban said when asked about the smashed trophy, which has generated national headlines.

"The crystal ball does represent something and we have tremendous respect for that," Saban said. "But nobody got hurt. Nobody meant to do any harm. We don't want the parent of the player who had an accidental slip to feel bad about it. It can be replaced."

Saban noted that everyone has occasional slips or bobbles, most of which - even the interceptions and fumbles he loathes - are forgivable.

"I fell off my boat once, six or seven years ago, hit my head and was knocked out at the bottom of the lake," Saban said. "That could have been a disaster, a really bad accident, but I was lucky. This wasn't a disaster."

Saban also provided a few other notebook items, quick notes on players such as Brent Calloway ("we have guys who are a little more talented at running back, but with his size and skill set, H-back may be a good fit for him") to Vinnie Sunseri ("really had a good spring and a good spring game") to the Crimson Tide's suspended players, including wide receiver Duron Carter, and their possible return.

"It's not up to me, it's up to them," Saban said. "I have two adolescents at home and I can't predict what they are going to do. So I can't predict what these guys are going to do. If they do what they are supposed to do, they'll play. If not, they won't."

At some point, "what they are supposed to do" will include holding on to the football. But it hasn't reached that point yet.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or 205-722-0225.






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