Saban comments on upcoming SEC clash with Bama

The following is a transcript from Nick Saban's Monady press luncheon.

Opening Statement…

"I think that we had a good bye week. We had an opportunity to get several players healed up that were a little nicked up -- probably not to the point where they couldn't play, but certainly injuries that needed a little time to heal. We gave the players the weekend off, which we usually do for the second bye week. We practiced on Friday. We didn't practice on Saturday or Sunday."

"I kind of sent the message that it's time to turn up the jets when they come back this week and have a sense of urgency and sense of immediacy in terms of what we can accomplish as a team for the rest of this year. It's really about what everybody's willing to do to try to accomplish that, and I think that's the key to where we go from here. It's probably good to decompress a little bit for them, but we're hoping and I expect them to come back chomping at the bit, so to speak, today to get ready to roll to be ready to finish this season."

On Alabama

"Alabama has an outstanding team, obviously. They've won three out of their last four games. Their defensive team leads the nation. They play extremely well on defense. Nobody is scoring very many points against them. They're very good on special teams. I think they lead the nation on kickoff return and have an excellent field goal kicker. And offensively, their ability to run the ball and possess the ball for almost 35 minutes a game plays right into the kind of team that they have."

"(Ray) Hudson was a great back for them early in the season, leading the SEC in rushing. Now (Kenneth) Darby's got almost 1,000 yards rushing. Their ability to run the football in this game is going to be a lot about toughness, because they are going to come right downhill at you. We're going to need to be ready for that. I think it's going to be an interesting game, and I'm just hopeful that our players are ready to get involved in that kind of physical contest. It should be the kind of game that you like as a football player, and it should be the kind of game you love to compete in if you're a great competitor."

"We're looking forward to the opportunity, and I think from every indication that I have from our players last week, in terms of the way they practice and what they try to do and all of that, I think we're ready for the challenges and looking forward to them."

On Alabama's ability to play well despite the many injuries they have suffered…

"They've had some pretty significant ones to primetime players. Brodie (Croyle) is a very very good player and gave them a dimension and ability to be a passing team as well as a very effective running team, although I see them improving in the passing game each week. Like I said before, Hudson was an outstanding back. The combination of having a two-back system and the two backs that did so well for them and the combination of those two guys, they don't really miss a beat with the guy they have now. Their team has shown a tremendous amount of resiliency this year to be able to overcome losing those kinds of primetime players that anyone would struggle with trying to overcome and replace."

On the play of Alabama quarterback Spencer Pennington

"He's got a good arm, and he's a really good passer. He does a good job of executing their offense. I think he's made some outstanding throws, and I think they have gotten consistently better in their ability to throw the ball and make some big plays downfield. They made a couple last week against Mississippi State. He's athletic enough to move around if he needs to, but I think there are also signs every now and then with inexperienced guys they probably are sitting there saying 'maybe I wish he wouldn't have done that,' like sometimes we say with our young guys. But I think he's done an outstanding job. They've won three of the last four games with him, and he's done an outstanding job of executing their offense with him."

 On the effectiveness of the Alabama run defense

"Well, they play a lot of eight-man fronts. They play a lot of man-to-man. The key is they've got really good players. They've got really good linebackers, they've got really good down guys. Most of the time when you're good on defense, the players you have are hard to block. That's the No. 1 indicator, so I think that's probably the No. 1 key for them. And their secondary has played extremely well this year. The combination of those two things has allowed them to play more eight-man fronts, probably, and not give up many plays in the back end. They're not doing a lot of stuff different relative to what they did last year. I just think they're executing it a whole lot better. They're playing with a lot of confidence, and they are very physical and aggressive in the way they play defensively."


Tiger Blitz Top Stories