Saban's Comments Following Victory
Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, "That's a good little team, and I don't mean little literally. They do a good job running their offense, and it's a tough offense to get ready for. We didn't do a good job executing on defense, but we did a better job in the second half."
Saban said keeping the ball away from the Eagles by a 32:37-27:23 margin was key.
"The offense did a good job of not letting them have the ball on time of possession," he said.
Special teams-wise, Saban noted he was "very disappointed on the kickoff return (for a 95-yard touchdown). We had a guy miss a tackle. Just not very good job of executing."
There was a reason the Eagles were able to roll up 302 yards rushing and 341 total yards. A health reason. "We had a lot of guys hurt up front," said Saban. "We were down to three or four (healthy) defensive linemen at the end of the game. I thought our players adjusted and adapted, and did a lot better job in the second half. The big problem was we didn't have support (on the option pitch)… and we got chopped a lot. They're 9-1 for a reason.
"It's a good win for us. I'm really proud of the seniors. I'm really glad that we could go out and get a win for them (on Senior Day, and their final home game)."
Saban said he and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart were hoping to see more than just seven pass attempts by Georgia Southern. "They never changed. I was hoping they would. They had gotten in the shotgun and passed the ball on some other teams, but they never did that on us. They checked about every play based on what we were doing. I think when we look at the film, its going to be about playing the blockers. I think we were soft at times and guys were worried about reading.
"Our players worked had this week. We see options all the time, but we don't see wishbone concepts like we did today. Our scout team did a good job, but it's a little faster out there against (Georgia Southern). They do this (offense) every day. They know what play to call, and what blocking scheme to use.
"Could somebody else, in a week's time, execute it like they do? I don't think so. Our defense got better as the game went on."
Due to the health issues on the defensive line, a little known freshman had to step up and step in at nose tackle, and Saban took notice. "Brandon Ivory did a good job. Josh Chapman was not going to play in this game. He's got a bad knee. Brandon Ivory missed two days of practice this week because he twisted a knee. Jesse Williams missed time because he got food poisoning (and an injured shoulder). Brandon Ivory does a pretty good job when he plays (nose guard). (Damion) Square was really the only guy that was playing where he (normally) plays."
Asked about the one completion Eagles quarterback Jaybo Shaw had that went for a 39-yard score, Saban said, "Dre' (Kirkpatrick) came (up . The guy (Eagles receiver Jonathan Bryant) ran by him. Mark Barron was supposed to have deep third (coverage), and he fell down. We hope that doesn't happen again."
Georgia Southern seemed fearless when it came to going for it on fourth down, and made two of three. Said Saban, "They went for it because it was fourth and inches or fourth and one. They went for it even though it was bad field position, but it was fourth and one. They ran quarterback sneaks, and got the first down. We couldn't create fourth down situation where they had to gain two-and-a-half yards."
There was one serious injury sustained by a senior on Senior Day. "Will Lowery got a knee (injury) and we'll take him for an MRI (Sunday), but it's not promising. We'll get some guys back, hopefully Barrett Jones, Josh Chapman and (suspended players Nick) Gentry, and (receiver) DeAndrew White."
As expected, Saban was prepared for the inevitable BCS talk, especially after Oklahoma State's upset loss in Ames, Iowa Friday night.
"I really addressed the team about that this morning," said the Tide coach. "I told our players before any of this ever happened that the legacy of our seniors that have won (a school record) 46 games since they've been here would be defined by what happened in this game. We have two games to play, and we're asking everybody, ‘Do you know your best? Have you played your best?' That's what we're asking for.
"We're not worried about a national championship. We're worried about the next game. Its about how we play, if we play our best football. That's what we control. We've got to be the best team we can be. We tell the players, ‘There is no scoreboard.' All I care about is how our team plays, because I have no control of (who plays for the national championship)." That "next game" is at Auburn Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CST on CBS.
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