"Well, that's a really tough loss for our players," Saban said. "I thought we played hard in the game. We just had a lot of opportunities that we squandered in the game whether it was missing an extra point early in the game, squandering a fourth and 12 situation when we had to get a stop. Late in the game we had a lot of field position opportunities that we were close to scoring, but we could never quite get where we needed."
"You've got to give Auburn's players a lot of credit," the coach added. "They competed and played hard. Their runners (Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown) ran extremely well. We controlled the line of scrimmage at times, but every time they needed to make a play on defense, they seemed to be able to come up with the play they needed.
"As I told our players, this is one game, it's early in the season, there's a lot we can learn from this experience that we had here today in terms of having several opportunities to make it a two-score game and try to put the game away and that cost us. It's very disappointing.
"I take responsibility for us not being in a position to do that in terms of our players not being able to execute like we need to. It's everybody's individual responsibility and it all starts with me. It's very disappointing."
In LSU's season opener against Oregon State, the Tigers pulled out a one-point win in large part due to the three extra points missed by Oregon State's kicker, including one on the game's final play. A similar situation happened Saturday after Courtney Taylor tied the game at 9-9 with 1:14 remaining. Auburn kicker John Vaughn missed the extra point, but LSU was called for a personal foul on the play and Vaughn was able to redeem himself.
"There's a new rule this year that if you jump across the line of scrimmage, and Cory Webster's usually the guy that does it and he was hurt, so Ronnie (Ronnie Prude) did it," Saban said of the personal foul.
"If you jump across the line of scrimmage and you land on an opposing player--it's a new rule--then it's a personal foul. It's a tough way to lose a game and it's a tough call to make to be a game-deciding kind of call. We've struggled to get a clear definition on even what the rule is, and I'm on the rules committee. But I'm sure it was (correct), and we probably didn't do it correctly. We probably deserved to get it called. I'm not criticizing the officials, but it's a tough kind of a cheap way, cheap penalty to end up losing a game on."
"I was for the NFL rule, which is much more clearly defined," he added. "There were several players who were hurt with players running and jumping over the line of scrimmage to block field goals. And what I can't understand is they can hurt the opposing team or their own team by jumping over the deal. And that's not something we do unless it's the last kick in the game, so we don't even do it. So it was for protection.
"The NFL rule is you can't start any more than at the heels of the defensive linemen and you can only jump on your side from a surge. It has nothing to do with where you come down. How can you control where you come down? But if you define where you can jump from I think that's a little bit better because who knows what happens when you're in the air. Obviously, I got out-voted on that."
LSU would have never been in that position if it could have stopped Auburn on its final drive. Jason Campbell led the offense to a 12-play, 59-yard drive, eating up 5:23 on the clock before finding Taylor open in the LSU end zone for a 16-yard score.
"We had them fourth and 12, and it was third and long on the last one," Saban said of the game-winning Auburn drive. "We had a chance to intercept the ball (earlier in the drive) and they almost broke out and run a touchdown with it. Their runners did a great job of making some excellent runs after they caught the ball. They made the plays that they had to make to win the game, and we didn't. It's disappointing, but when you think about it you always come down to the last drive. But there were so many things that happened prior to the last drive.
"When it's a one score game like that it only takes one play, one guy missing a tackle, one guy falling down, one guy not covering exactly right, one guy not coming on a blitz where he's supposed to come," Saban added. "And that's what kind of happens. If we would have taken advantage of some other opportunities earlier in the game, maybe it wouldn't have worked out that way."
"We were playing quarters coverage and they were in empty trips, and they ran two guys vertical," Saban said of the Auburn touchdown. "We needed a push off from three to two. The fourth and 12 was a critical play. So…very disappointing, very disappointing."