SABAN: First Half Was Good Enough
"We probably didn't have the success throwing the ball today that we'd have liked to have," Saban said in his post-game press conference. "We ran well in the first half, but we had a lot of bad field position in the second half and couldn't get it going, but those are all things we need to get to working on."
Florida turnovers caused by Alabama made the difference tonight, something Saban said his staff has emphasized to the team this year.
"We were fortunate to get em at opportune times tonight which was a real positive for us and something I hope we can continue to do," Saban said. "(Turnovers) is something we emphasize tremendously in terms of drills we do. If the ball hits the ground we've got to pick it up and run with it. A lot of conscious effort is spent on getting turnovers."
The finish might have been lacklust by Saban's high standards, but the start was all anyone could hope for. Florida won the toss, but deferred its choice to the second half, allowing Alabama to receive the ball to start the game. The Tide went on an impressive drive that ended in a field goal. Florida followed with a drive of its own, but Bama made a goal line stand, intercepting a pass on fourth down to keep the Gators out of the end zone.
"I think the combination of what happened on that (first) drive and what happened on their drive, stopping them on fourth down, was a huge momentum swing in the game," Saban said. "That was a huge play in the game to get out of there with fourth and goal and allow no points. For us to be able to control the ball in the first half was very good for us, but that was a huge momentum swing to get that stop on fourth down."
i just think you have jto come out and do the same thing for 60 minutes, prac was better this week and that showed in the game. we needed that. we played a good time. thats something we need to do the whole time, not some of the team."
Saban said the first half effort is what he's been looking for from his squad the entire season, particularly from his younger players.
"I don't think it was about satisfaction, it was about the way we played with the intensity that we payed with," he said. "We played with passion; we palyed with lots of enthusiasm, lots of energy.
"Last year our team sort of did that as a matter of fact," Saban said. "This year we have older guys who set a good example for the younger guys, but the younger guys have to understand that we have to do that every play. We can't just have it sometimes."
Saban said the defense game planned opened up Courtney Upshaw to make plays because he played on the edge a little more rather than inside. Saban also said that Upshaw was probably fully healthy Saturday night "for the first time all year."
Saban was already thinking about Alabama's next challenge next week against South Carolina.
"We gotta reload," he said. "We've got a 24 hour rule around here. We enjoy it for 24 hours, but we gotta get ready for another one."
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