UA-Alabama Post Game Transcript

Opening Comments:

"Just really proud of our team and just a big win. I'm so glad to give it to our fans, our band, our cheerleaders, everybody involved. What a great atmosphere. It's just a total team effort to get in a heavyweight fight like that. I thought our defense came out after halftime and laid it on the line, because they have two outstanding backs and they'll pound you. And we knew coming in that they were going to make sure that their quarterback was comfortable.

"We finally got them stopped and our offense, I thought the first drive was one of the most beautiful drives we've had. The thing about it is they mixed a couple of things on us and we got behind the count on 2nd-and-longs and 3rd-and-longs and that's no way to play (Alabama defensive coordinator) Joe Kines. That's one thing we wanted to stay out of. But the positive thing today was we didn't turn the ball over and we didn't have penalties. That's what we wanted and I'm just proud of our defense for stopping the backs and I'm proud of the offense for hanging in there and hanging in there and not getting frustrated. For a younger group, I thought they, there in that mid-second quarter, got into a lull and got frustrated a little bit. But at halftime, came back with a new attitude and focused. Even though the third quarter we didn't put up any points, we took off some clock and got field position.

"Our punting game was good, too. Making them go 80 yards (late in the third quarter) -- as much as I wanted to go for it and our fans wanted us to go for it -- it was the right thing to do. As much as I wanted to go for it and be a little bit more aggressive, we had to make them go the long hard way and eat up the clock. Boy, what a great win for our program and I think we'll learn a lot from this."

Q: It's hard to say the first SEC game is a must-win. But with the schedule coming up, how big was it to get this win?
A: It's huge. It's huge to win a game like this at home. The atmosphere has been great and I think we let down our fans a bit. But again, when you've got to go to Florida and Auburn and then Georgia on the horizon, this was a really good win for us.

Q: How big was the scoring drive before half and the one that put you up by 10 points.?
A: Huge, those were huge. Really huge to be able to execute without penalties and without turning over the football.

Q: Relieved to see them punt on 4th-and-1 from the 39 early in the fourth quarter?
A: Yes I was. I was looking for a fake. I was hollering fake the whole time. But I was glad they punted.

Q: Can you talk about Peyton Hillis' two touchdowns?
A: Peyton made a super catch on the one right before the half. That was just phenomenal. Just great concentration because he knows he's going to get hit. But he's a tough guy. He's really beyond his years in maturity as far as a physical freshman. Then the run was just second effort. He's so strong from the waist down. He'll hit and then break an arm tackle and go the distance.

Q: Between the first and last drive of the first half, your offense was pretty stagnant. What did you do in that last drive to kind of get it going?
A: Well, it was stagnant because Alabama's defense is awfully good and they mixed some things up on us and we missed some blocks and we didn't execute as well.

Q: What did you think about De'Arrius Howard in the second half?
A: De'Arrius was a big factor. Especially when DeCori (Birmingham) went down and got stung a little bit. He's running extremely hard and he protects the ball for us. He's a physical runner for us."

Q: What's wrong with Birmingham?
A: I really don't know. They just told me was out and I didn't have time to find out exactly what happened.

Q: How about the defense's ability to bend but not break?
A: That's the big thing. They didn't give the big play and just kept fighting.

Q: How about Alabama's defense?
A: They're a year older from last year and really strong. They're going to stop a bunch of folks.

Q: Is that the best defense you guys have played?
A: This year, yes. Texas was really good. But overall, probably Alabama.

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