Saban Would Be Glad For Rematch
"I would be excited for our team if they had the opportunity to play for the National Championship," Alabama Coach Nick Saban said just after the 76th Auburn game. "I think they deserve it, and I think they have worked hard. They have all made a tremendous commitment. We didn't do all the things that we needed to do in the LSU game (a 9-6 overtime loss in Tuscaloosa) to win. If we got another opportunity to play whoever in the National Championship, it would be great for The University of Alabama and all the people in our organization.
"This team only lost one game in overtime to a very good team that is No. 1 right now."
With the topsy-turvy events in other conferences in recent weeks, Saban feels sure the SEC should have two teams in the New Orleans Superdome come Jan. 9.
"All I know is that after being in this league for 10 years (five each at LSU and Alabama), there are a lot of good football players, teams and programs. Competition in this league is very difficult. It's something great to be a part of. Anywhere you go, it is going to be a difficult place to play in this conference. I would think that people (who vote in the BCS) would think this is a very good conference."
Saban had plenty to say about his team holding Auburn to 140 total yards and nine first downs, while rolling up 397 yards and 19 first downs of its own.
"I don't think there are any words to describe how proud I am of our players," said the Tide coach. "All the players… made a commitment and have worked hard continuing to improve throughout this season, and certainly played the way we asked them. We challenged them for (this to be) the best game of the season. It wasn't perfect, but it was one of the better games we played on offense and defense. It was really OK on special teams, except for kickoff returns, but that's something that we need to work on. I'm really pleased, happy and proud of our players, coaches and people within the organization that made such a contribution to the success of this team this year."
Saban said he knew that, despite the end result, nothing would be easy if Bama were to extend its Iron Bowl series lead to 41-34-1. "We have a lot of respect for Auburn," he said. "Their team m played hard today. Our guys played a tough game. We were fortunate today to come out on top.
"I'm satisfied with what our players did. I think we have a great football team, a great bunch of young men who have done a wonderful job. They have played some really dominant football on both sides of the ball."
An example of one such young man is junior running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Trent Richardson, who gashed the Tigers for 203 yards rushing on 27 carries, and added a receiving touchdown.
"To me, Trent Richardson is the best football player in the country," Saban said. "You love saying that about someone who is such a good person, and someone who does so much to serve other people. He is a great teammate. He is a leader. He cares about everyone around him. His performance and production pretty much speak for (themselves).
"I will say this: (Richardson) will be the first to tell you that the offensive line does a pretty good job blocking up front, and that contributes to his success."
Saban (and several Tide players) noted that true freshman Vinnie Sunseri did an admirable job filling in for a nicked-up Mark Barron, who is suffering from sore (but not cracked) ribs from the Georgia Southern game.
"Vinnie (Sunseri) did a good job," Saban said. "He made a few mistakes, but he made adjustments. (Auburn's) offense is very difficult to make adjustments for. I think he did a wonderful job out there today."
Sunseri was credited with six tackles and a quarterback hurry.
Saban added that he is happy with his team's improvement since the LSU loss Nov. 5. "I think that the last three weeks we have improved a great deal," he noted. "I was proud of the way our team played at Mississippi State. We had a lot of guys that were banged up. We had most of our guys back today, which was beneficial. Last week (against Georgia Southern), I thought we played well offensively. We were in a difficult circumstance on defense (against the Eagles' option attack), and we probably did not do a good enough job as coaches getting our team ready.
"Today, I thought we played really well against a good Auburn team."
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