SABAN: Proud of the Effort
That's how Nick Saban summed up Alabama's 26-21 win over Auburn Saturday night. Saban said he knew it would be tough. Alabama was coming off a short week. Auburn had the prior week off. Bama players were tired, too. And the preparation for Auburn's offense was a challenge.
"That says a lot about their team," Saban said. I can honestly say that was a great football game for both teams. Auburn played extremely well with great intensity, but I can say I've never been prouder of a team than I am of ours today."
"We knew we were going to have to play through the emotion," he said. "This game is all about discipline and determination and perserverance to overcome adversity, and that's one thing we haven't been tested on this year."
Saban said the 79-yard drive that gave the Tide its go-ahead touchdown, "May have been one of the greatest drvies I've ever been associated with, in the fourth quarter to win the game."
On the final play, a play-action pass to Roy Upchurch, Saban said, "We called a run, but I didn't want to play for a field goal, I tried to get 'em to call a pass, and when we got lined up I wanted to pass."
"We needed four yards," he said. "They were in goal line defense and it's hard time to get four yards. Some times it's easiest to throw when they're all coming to get the run, and that's what happened. It was a safe play."
Mark Ingram, Saban said, suffered a hip pointer that kept him out during the last drive, but he hoped to have him back next week. He hadn't spoken to the team doctors.
Saban said Julio Jones, "probably played the best game of the year today because he made big plays in key situations; not necessarily big plays in terms of yards but in converting those third down situations. Hopefully we'll continue to get the ball and get him involved."
"I didn't like it that we had a short week this week but I like that we have an extra day (for the SEC championship game)," he said.
On the defensive struggles with Auburn's misdirection plays, Saban said, "We gotta keep the side boards on the defense and stuff up the inside so they don't get those kind of plays. We were stopping them inside, but we didn't do the other. Their formation variations kind of created some of that."
"Great players can play in that moment, and that time," Saban said. "Great teams play in that moment, and that time. Im' not saying we're a great team but that's what we were able to do tonight."
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