Saban Happy With Victory

Alabama Coach Nick Saban was obviously happy with his team's 41-38 win over Arkansas in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night. But the coach was also looking at the game as an opportunity to learn from mistakes and improve.

Following Alabama's heroic win, Saban said, "There were a lot of things we didn't do correctly and we've got to be willing to fix them. It's usually easy to get players to fix things when they lose. I hope our players are mature enough to recognize that we have to work on things and fix them."

Saban said, "Hopefully the lessons that we will learn are about consistency. We started out the game extremely well offensively and defensively. We lost the momentum of the game in the second quarter. We came out in the second half and didn't do very muchoffensively. We turned the ball over a couple of times. We had a couple of red zone opportunities in the second half that we didn't cash in on. We were a little bit up, then down, but came back in the end."

Saban said, "I am very proud of the way the players competed today. We always talk about playing for 60 minutes in a game and when we score a touchdown with eight seconds left to win a game, it's an easy way to reinforce a point. We showed a lot of character in the game to get the ball back at the end of it. We had a great two-minute drive and people made plays. It was a tremendous victory for The University of Alabama, for our players, for our fans. The atmosphere in the stadium was fantastic and I would like to thank all of the fans and student body for the support."

Saban said he thought the decision to kick a field goal with just over four minutes to play was the correct one. He said he asked the defense if they could get the ball back, and his players said they could. And he said he had confidence in quarterback John Parker Wilson in a two-minute offense. "We practice it a lot and he does well," the coach said. "I think it was the right thing to do. With two minutes to go it's not the right thing to do."

He said that linebackerDarren Mustin, who was excellent starting out the game, suffered a shoulder injury (which Saban thinks is a "stinger") and said that Prince Hall had to play a great deal. Hall had gotten most of his work at the other inside linebacker position, the middle spot played by Rolando McClain, as Bama prepared for Arkansas, which made for some problems.

Saban said that wide receiver D.J. Hall, who missed most of the second half, was bothered by a quad, and Saban didn't want to risk playing him and having him pull. Hall did play on the last series.

Saban congratulated Hall on becoming Alabama's all-time leading receiver in yardage, surpassing Hall of Fame player Ozzie Newsome.

The Tide coach also congratulated Matt Caddell, a senior who "hasn't had a lot of opportunities. He played a lot and made a lot of catches. John Parker did a good job of hitting him."

Saban was not satisfied with the Alabama running game. "We didn't handle their guys up front," he said.

But speaking of running, the Tide coach was very impressed with Arkansas runners Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.

Saban said, "We won the game, but psychologially we didn't go toe-to-toe with them and beat them like we want to do. We lost some of that in the second half. We didn't pay attention to detail and we didn't get it right."

Saban said, "It says a lot about our character that we came back and overcame a lot of adversity in the game."

BamaMag Top Stories