Nick Saban Makes Apology, Promise
Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, "This is a place with a lot of tradition and a lot of pride and a lot of people who have a lot of pride in what we do. I'm certainly not pleased with the way we represented that tradition today."
Saban said, "We did all the things in this football game that will get you beat regardless of who you play. We had basically five turnovers and don't make it on fourth down. We had an interception that resulted in them having a one-inch touchdown run, which was not the quarterback's fault.
"We did a lot of things today that are not winning football. We're all responsible for it. It starts with me.
"I don't think we had a very good week of preparation. I did everything I could think to do to get the players to respond and to make sure that they have the kind of focus and preperattion you have to have to be consistent and play winning football against anyone."
He said he even pointed out some of the shocking upsets that have occurred in recent basketball games. "The gamut of everything I could talk about respecting your opponent and going out and dominate the people you play against.
"I failed in that, obviously."
Saban said that even though the offense moved the ball well at times and that even though the defense made some good stops, but "We gave up too many plays and gave them too many opportunities and so I was very disappointed and I apologize to the people who support this program. We didn't represent it with class today."
Saban also promised to work to get things improved. "We will get it fixed," he said. "We will continue to work to get where we want to go. That's our mission and that's what we will try to do." He said that includes getting players developed, a winning attitude, consistency, and responsibility.
He said, "I'm not happy about it, I'm not pleased about it. I'm embarrassed for all our fans and the way we played today and that's my responsibility. I also know the only way to get it right is to go fix the things that are wrong, try to improve our team, give ourself the best chance to play well next week. That's what we're going to do.
"We've got to finish. I'm going to work my tail off to fix what we didn't get right, improve our team and get ready for the next game. We've got 24 hours to get over it." Asked if it was his worst loss as a coach, Saban said, "I had one at LSU against UAB that was very similar."
He said the team has not improved since its win over Tennessee a month ago.
Saban said, "We haven't had the continuity we need to have. It's a responsibility we all need to take. I need to take, the coaching staff needs to take, every player needs to take advantage of the opportunity he has. This is not the kind of football that we intend to be played here. The earmarks were all there. The turnovers. We had three or four opportunities in the last 10 minutes and couldn't make the play we needed to make to win the game."
Saban touched briefly on the suspension of wide receiver D.J. Hall for the first half of the game. He also said in answer to a question that the five players who have been reinstated would have an opportunity to earn their jobs back. As before, he said there would be no additional penalty, saying he thought missing four games was substantial punishment.
Saban said that kick return specialist Javier Arenas had a high ankle sprain, which can be slow to recover. But he said that Arenas is a hard worker who might be able to be back for the Auburn game Saturday.
He said that Jimmy Johns had a good week or practice and that except for the critical fumble inside the ULM 15-yard line that Johns had played well. But he said he couldn't put Johns back in when Alabama faced third and one inside the ULM 20 in the final three minutes. He also said, "No matter who is in there, we need to block the play well enough to make a yard."
Finishing is a watchword of Saban preparation. He was asked why Alabama has not been able to finish games well recently.
"I have my ideas about it," Saban said. "It's not easy. The season is long. It takes commitment and perseverance to go through it, challenge yourself, improve, not taking the easy way, not thinking enough is enough. I don't think we've developed that personality. We're not finishing. We didn't finish the LSU game and we haven't played well enough to win the last two weeks. We're not where we need to be.
He said it seems to be a personality trait of the team, and said he believed that may have been an issue with Alabama football before he arrived.
Saban said that quarterback John Parker Wilson had a good week of preparation. In fact, he said, the plan was to use this game to have Wilson get a confidence boost.
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