"Finish the game, that's kind of been our off-season," Saban said. "I think the game tonight sort of epitomized us being able to do that.
"I think the last drive with 12 minutes to go in the game, in taking the air out of the ball for seven minutes is what you call finishing the game."
Alabama's game plan, according to Saban, was to stop Clemson's run and establish the ability to line up and run right at Clemson on offense. On Defense, Saban said, the plan was not to blitz much. "The game plan was not to pressure much so we could cover all those screens and bubbles," he said.
Saban had high praise for quaterback John Parker Wilson, the offensive line, and running backs Mark Ingram and Glen Coffee. He also touted the blocking of tight ends Nick Walker and Travis McCall even before discussing Walker's career-receiving game.
Saban said that freshman Julio Jones had a good game, but "he got tired and didn't play as fast as we'd like him to at times, but I think a lot of that has to do with anxiety. I was pleased overall with the progress our freshman have made and the way that they played."
Of Andre Smith, the All-SEC player who went down with an injury in the second half, Saban said, "(He has a) sprained knee. I haven't talked to the doctors but I don't think it's anything too serious but we have to get you an update on Monday."
The cautionary note came at the end, and with the trademark Saban message-sending flair for the dramatic:
"What everyone needs to understand: it's one game," he said. "Confidence can screw you up. Confidence can be a good thing, but what our players need to understand, what our fans need to understand, what everybody needs to understand: it's one game."
"It's one game, and we need to keep playing better, and we need to improve, and our players need to have the focus to improve, and remember how they got where they got rather than think we can just show up now and beat whoever we play because we have a tendency to think that way around here instead of just kicking people's ass like we're supposed to and working to do it.
"When you ask me those kind of questions (a generic question about the win building confidence) it really pisses me off. I'm not pissed at you (the reporter who asked) but that mentality that you've got to work and earn, you've got to earn the next game, and what we did tonight was great. We won one game. We've got 11 more. We have to take them one game at a time and we need to improve as a team and that's what our team needs to be focused.
"We made a B on a mid-term, so we're going to take a week off and get a D, and have a C average? Or are we going to try to get an A? This is one game. What we did in this game is just one game. That's what it counts for…
"I like for our players to have confidence, but I think our players played with confidence tonight. I didn't see anybody scared out there. I didn't see any fear. Now are y'all scared to ask another question." (there were more questions).
Saban Pleased, Warns Against Complacency
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