Saban Takes Blame For Tide Loss

There were not a lot of surprises from Alabama Coach Nick Saban in his press conference following Mississippi State's 17-12 win over the Crimson Tide in Starkville Saturday. He said he was disappointed, he pointed out the key play in the game, and he took blame for the loss.

"This is a very disappointing lossd for all of us, and I am responsible for it," Alabama Coach Nick Saban said. "It starts with me. I did a poor job; we did a poor job as coaches. Psychologically, we worked real hard this week--after Tennessee (a big 41-17 win) and LSU (a heart-breaking 41-35 loss)--to get where we needed to be during practice; to get the kind of execution that we wanted to get in the game.

"Obviously we failed at that, and that is my responsibility."

He said the outcome was "obviously very disappointing. We didn't execute. Mississippi State did a great job today and they deserved to win. We didn't make the plays in the game that we needed to make.

"It's everybody's responsibility, starting with me and the coaching staff."

Saban made it clear that he thought Alabama had lost to a good team. He said people think because Mississippi State has historically not been a good team that some may think that is the case today. Not so, he said, pointing out the Bulldogs' previous road wins over ranked teams, Auburn and Kentucky.

"I'm not ashamed to lose to Mississipi State," he said. "That is a good team."

Saban said, "When we lose, we lose as a team, and when we win, we win as a team."

Saban saw the key play, as did everyone else. "We had a critical turnover right before the half that was at least a 10-point swing, maybe 14 points. Regardless of that, we didn't do the things that we needed to do."

Asked what Saban said to quarterback John Parker Wilson after Wilson threw the interception, the Tide coach said, "There is no one who feels worse about that than John Parker. He feels worse than anyone who cheers for Alabama or coaches for Alabama or writes about Alabama. He knew what he had done. I told him to forget about it and get ready for what we had to do to come back."

The Tide coach said that was the message at halftime, that the team was in a hole and it would be known for how it responded to the adversity. He said he had no problem with the effort his team was giving, but said that it needed to play with better execution. "When we did the right thing we did okay," he said. "I think every pass completion they had in the first half was because we busted a coverage."

He said, "I'm proud of the players for the way they competed in the game. I'm proud of the way they have competed all season."

Saban said, "You could say we played a little bit better on defense in the game, but the fact of the matter is that we turned the ball over and gave them a touchdown and then we gave them good field position at another time. We needed to force field goals in situations like that."

The Tide coach said, "We didn't execute very well in the passing game today. That's two weeks in a row. We need to do a better job."

He said he elected to kick a field goal with 6:27 to play and Bama facing a fourth and 16. "Either we get a field goal and a touchdown or a touchdown and a two-point conversion. If we don't (get the two-pointer) we still would need a field goal, so we decided to take the points.

"Leigh Tiffin did a great job today. He made some big kicks in critical times in the game."

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