Saban Does Not See A Mismatch
To the surprise of no one, Alabama Coach Nick Saban couldn't say enough good about Florida International.
Saban said, "I think FIU is a young team and has a lot of players coming back. They made a significant amount of improvement from year one to year two. They have a lot of players coming back. They actually have a lot of speed, a lot of team speed. They are a wide-open throw the ball vertical passing game. The quarterback is back and he had a good year last year. Their receiver number four, (T.Y.) Hilton, is as good a player as anybody in the country. I think he was way up there in all-purpose yards or led the country in all-purpose yards last year."
Saban noted that FIS hasn't played a game this year "and there are some differences in depth chart from last spring to last year to where it is right now. I think they might have had some guys out last year that are going to come back and play, especially defensively.
"They have good players. They have a lot better players than what you think they have. They have lots of team speed. This is going to be a completely different challenge for us. They have a lot of great skill guys, a lot of speed on the field. They are wide open, spread out all over the place, guys getting the ball that can run with it in space. It will be a challenge for us defensively and they've got really good team speed on defense."
Alabama and FIU will kick off shortly after 6 p.m. (CST) this Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis in Alabama and Florida on the Crimson Tide Sports Network. The game can also be seen outside of Alabama and Florida on ESPN GamePlan and ESPN360.com.
Alabama, ranked fifth in the nation last week, is coming off a 34-24 win over number seven Virginia Tech.
Saban said, "This is one of those games that we need to focus on what we need to do to improve as a team. It's going to be very important that we make a significant improvement from week one to week two."
No one would suggest Alabama played a perfect game against Virginia Tech, but the Crimson Tide was pretty good.
"It's not a lot different than I said after the game," Saban said Monday. "I think the key was playing hard in the game, playing for 60 minutes and winning in the fourth quarter. I think making 13 explosive plays offensively was a real key. I think we responded extremely well to adversity in the game, even though some of that adversity was self-inflicted and I make no excuse for that, relative to first game or last game.
"We need to learn how to play our game as a team. You can't tolerate mistakes. We made some lethal mistakes in this game that are all correctible, but we have to quit doing that. We have to play with more discipline. We have to put the team first, in terms of making personal choices and decisions, whether its technique, personal behavior, or whatever it is and everybody has got to have a personal plan to correct it.
"It's that simple. It's my responsibility and that's what we need to do. These things are all correctible and we had some very positive performances in this game by a lot of players."
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