Nick Saban Most Disappointed
Although Alabama Coach Nick Saban gave credit to Florida State, he said, "This is very disappointing. I was not pleased with the way we played."
He said that FSU had been more physical and tougher and had controlled the line of scrimmage against Bama. "I didn't feel like we got this done in this game," he said.
He said the difference in the game was "the physical edge and the mental edge they had on our offense and on our special teams."
Saban pointed to the spark that FSU got from a change in quarterbacks. He said that the Seminoles putting in Xavier Lee gave Alabama's defense problems. He said Bama had played pretty good defense in the first half before FSU made the change.
Asked if he considered making a change in quarterback for Alabama, Saban said he did not. He said that might be considered after evaluation, but pointed out that Bama quarterback John Parker Wilson wasn't to be blamed for Alabama's inability to run the ball or run block or pass protect.
He said, "We had a great opportunity to come here and keep improving our identity as a football team and I am not sure that we did that by thbe way we performed in this game. I know there are some guys that did some tghings. I'm not saying that, but this is the most disappointed that I've been, in terms of how we execuyted and what we did. It's not one specific person, one specific guy. We didn't protect as well as we need to. We didn't get open as well as we needed. And we weren't in sync as good as we need to be. This is the first time we weren't able to run the ball effectively. I think when it comes right down to it, we didn't execute as well as we need to to have success. We want to play with intensity, toughness, everybody to be responsible for how we execute. I didn't feel like we got that done."
He said, "We didn't want to come here and have any regrets about how we played, but we have some. I think they (FSU) are a good football team. I think they're an outstanding defensive football team. I didn't think we played with the kind of poise you need to execute against a team of their caliber."
He said that Marquis Johnson, who was victimized on a couple of FSU touchdown pass plays, started ahead of Lionel Mitchell because performance at right cornerback had not been good in earlier games.
Linebacker Darren Mustin returned to action in the first half, but suffered a thigh bruise. Saban said that Prince Hall came in and did well, but that the loss of Mustin forces true freshman Rolando McClain to move from middle linebacker to weakside linebacker and that there was "some confusion."
The coach said that defensive end Bobby Greenwood had suffered an ankle injury early in the game. He said it might be only a bruise but that an exam would be conducted to determine the seriousness of the injury.
Brian Motley had his first action of the year and the freshman noseguard seemed to do okay, Saban said.
Regarding Alabama's desperate attempt to come back late in the game, Saban said, "It's only good to come back in a game if you come back and win."
Saban said that Alabama special teams had not controlled a positive change in field position, noting that in Bama first three games -- all victories -- the special teams had contributed.
Over and over he stressed the need for Alabama to execute with more toughness and consistency and to be more competitive. He said he knows that all players need to improve and he feels a responsibility to get that done.
Saban did point to the wind being a factor in the game, particularly in first half field position. He said in the second half when FSU started out with a quick, long touchdown drive that he didn't think Alabama's intensity was good.
He said it remains to be seen how the team will react to the adversity of its second consecutive loss. "It's up to those guys," he said, referring to the players. He said it is the responsibility of each player to determine at the end of the game if he had done all he could as an individual to help his team or if he had regrets because he didn't.
Saban said that he wanted to thank the people of Jackisonville and the Gator Bowl Committee for putting together the unusual neutral site game. "It was a great venue and our players appreciated the opportunity," he said. "I know lots of people worked hard to make this happen and we want them to know that we appreciate it."
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