SABAN: Tide Learned a Lesson

Alabama used Florida quarterback Tim Tebow more ways than one in Atlanta Saturday night, en route to its 22nd Southeastern Conference title with a 32-13 win over Florida at the Georgia Dome.



"I think we learned a lot about resiliency and critical lessons in life," Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, "about the intangibles it takes not to be denied, and actually used -- I told Tim this standing outside -- some of the characteristics he has, in terms of what he did for his team last year in the game; in terms of being a phenomenal competitor; as an example to our guys relative to how everybody had to buy in not to be denied in this game. To be a champion, that's what you would have to do."

As far as game-planning for Tebow, Saban entered the game with a more simplified plan than usual.

"I think we had a little different philosophy of how we played the game today," Saban said. "I think it was a little simpler for the players. I think when we played man to man we did a really good job of covering them.

"When we pushed the pocket with five guys we did a good job with pressure, whether we got sacks or not. The goal was to make Tim throw the ball from the pocket, not let him run and try to cover people. And when we had to do that, we did it twice in the red zone."

Saban said, "the offensive line should really get the most credit for what they did," and when asked if Mark Ingram deserved to win the Heisman, "Absolutely. He should be considered. He's one of the best players on one of the best teams."

Earlier in the year Saban challenged is team to "buy in." He said if there was anyone in the locker room that hadn't yet done so, he didn't know what they were waiting for. After the Championship game Saturday night, he said that at least a "critical mass" had bought in.

"I think that we probably have a guy or two somewhere around that hasn't bought in," he said. "Most of those guys don't play a lot."

"Do we have all? I'm not sure I'm ready to say that," he said. "They learn, they grow, they grow up like kids, and they find out what it takes. But you don't compromise your beliefs in what you have to do to be successful and you don't let them compromise doing right to do it."

Of quarterback Greg McElroy, who was named MVP of the game, Saban said, "Greg did a phenomenal job. We had a good game plan. We did a great job of executing it. And defensively, even though we got a little confused in the second quarter, we did a really good job of making adjustments and playing better in the second half."

"This is a great victory for the state of Alabama," Saban said. "I'd like to thank everyone in our organization who worked so hard to make our program one of the best programs in the country, whether it's personal development, academics, player development, or helping these players launch their career when they leave our program. Those are all things important to have a first-class program and we have a lot of people involved in that."


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