Exactly one month ago, the LSU football program seemed in disarray after a 3-point Homecoming loss to Troy. That loss, coupled with an embarrassing performance at Mississippi State, brought out a lot of criticism within the fanbase.

But LSU has battled back by winning three straight conference games and climbing back into the AP poll in time for a matchup with the top-ranked Crimson Tide. That's something Nick Saban has taken notice of.

"LSU has gotten better as the season has gone on," Saban said. "Probably the worst thing that happened to all of us in the SEC is when they lost to Troy. They've really made a turn around as a team, which I think speaks volumes of the coaching staff and the job that Ed Orgeron has done there to get the players to re-center, re-focus, work on improving. They've been very productive since that time."

That resurgence puts this rivalry game right back on the national radar, which is where it's been ever since Nick Saban arrived.

"This game has turned into a huge rivalry through the years, since I've been here especially I guess but probably even before that. But since 2007 I think, both teams have been ranked in the top 20 in each one of these games that we've played and I don't think that this one really is any different."

The team returns to the practice field after a bye week to prepare for Saturday's night game against LSU.

Here is what else Saban talked about on Monday:

  • How LSU's offense has evolved this year and what you have to do to defend it.
  • What has LSU been doing differently and better since the loss to Troy.
  • The status of running back Josh Jacobs and defensive end Da'Shawn Hand heading into this week of practice.
  • Does the physical nature of the series help motivate players and get them focused for the game?
  • The progression of safety Hootie Jones during his career and how he's improved this season.
  • His evaluation of running back Bo Scarbrough through the first eight games of the season.
  • He voiced his complete disinterest in the first College Football Playoff rankings.
  • The running back rotation