Saban Wishes He Could Have Done More

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said he was proud of what his team accomplished in the year to date and of how the Crimson Tide competed in a losing effort in the SEC Championship Game against Florida. And he challenged Bama to respond to the challenge of bouncing back from a loss.

Nick Saban met with the media following the Alabama loss, 31-20, in the SEC Championship Game at the GeorgiaDome in Atlanta Saturday night. He said, "I feel responsible for everything that didn't go right, and I only wish that I could have done more to help all those players, coaches and people do more to help make it right. I'm responsible for it and I just wish that I could have done more to help them because our players really wanted to win the game.

"They worked hard. They accomplished a lot to have the opportunity to do it, and I feel badly for them and our fans who have been great all year long in supporting this team.

"My feelings, it's not about me. It's about everyone else. I serve them, and I feel like I failed them by not doing enough to help them get what they really wanted."

Saban pointed out on a couple of occasions that "every team in the BCS conferences have lost a game this year.

He said his Bama team "accomplished a lot. They played with a lot of consistency. That's a very tough thing to do and I'm very proud of them. I was proud of the way they played in the game today.

"We'll look at the film and we'll say there's a lot of things that we could have done better with better execution, that would have probably helped us to have a chance to get the result we wanted. But because we didn't do that and (Florida) did, they got the result that they wanted."

Saban congratulated Florida, and particularly quarterback Tim Tebow, for making plays to win the game and wished the Gators good luck as representatives of the SEC in the National Championship Game.

Saban said he wanted the legacy of the 2008 Alabama team, and particularly the nine seniors, to be that "they wee the team that brought a lot of pride back to The University of Alabama, to the football program, and to the people of they state of Alabama who support it.

"They went undefeated in the regular season, which is a very difficult thing to do.

"I just wish there was more than i could have done to help them win the championship, which I know was certainly their goal and their expectation."

Saban said his team would have another opportunity to play and that great teams come back from losses. (Alabama is expected to be selected to play in the Sugar Bowl in Jan. 2 against Utah when selections are announced Sunday night.) "To come back and play good football after they lose is a challenge for our team."

Saban said his team "ran out of gas in the fourth quarter a little bit in what was a tough, physical game. I think both teams played extremely well in this game."

Saban said a critical event in the game was when placekicker Leigh Tiffin suffered a mild concussion on a kickoff. Tiffin wasn't available when Bama had a 42-yard field goal opportunity and the Tide tried a fake run with holder P.J. Fitzgerald. Saban said the team misread the situation and should have tried the kick, even though it was likely too long for back-up Andrew Friedman, who was in the game.

Saban said the defense played "really well...but we gave up big plays." He pointed to a couple of opportunities on third down plays when the defense was unable to hold, resulting in crucial drive continuations and/or points for the Gators.

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