Coach Croom Talked About the Alabama Loss

Coach Croom talked to the media after his team's 30-14 loss to Alabama Saturday night in front of over 82,000 fans in Bryant-Denny Stadium on the campus of the University of Alabama. He not only talked about the game, but also touched on his future expectations for his Mississippi State program.

Sarting offensive guard Brian Anderson went out with an injury then came back out and played. How is he doing?
"I thought he was out of the game for good. My first report was that he had a broken fibula, but I guess that wasn't accurate. He came back and played well for us."

How would you now access the number-one ranked Alabama defense after seeing them in a game?
"Their defense is good, but our offense moved the football against them. I was pleased with some things that we did. We improved in the passing game, but we still have a long way to go. Sometimes the throws are there and we drop the football. And sometimes the guys are open and we didn't make the throw. Then, there were times when we had both of those going and the protection wasn't quite there."

You decided to go on offense at the start of the game. What was your reason for that?
"We were on the road. I felt like, if our offense got the ball first, we wanted to make a statement. If we could quickly establish that we could move the ball on offense, I thought it could give both units (offense and defense) a little juice."

Did the Alabama crowd affect your team's play tonight?
"I don't worry about the crowd. The game is played between the lines. The crowd doesn't have anything to do with it. We could hear. That was no problem. The problem was blocking and tackling and executing. I've been in a whole noiser places than this."

There was a lot of hype coming into this game. Are you happy that you now have it behind you so that you can close this chapter?
"As long as I'm at Mississippi State and we play Alabama, it will never be behind me. It will never be behind me. In a lot of way I'm never going to let it be behind us. I want to be where Alabama is. I want Mississippi State to play like Alabama. I want us to expect to win just like Alabama expects to win. I want the kids who come to Mississippi State to expect to wear championship rings just like they do here at Alabama.

"Alabama and Notre Dame, as far as I'm concerned, are the top two football programs in the history of college football. All these other Johnny-come-latelies can't make up the tradition that Alabama and Notre Dame have. That is just the way it is in college football. There are three programs that mean football to me, Notre Dame, Alabama and the Green Bay (Packers). While I am at Mississippi State, I want us to have the same characteristics. I want guys in our program to not only want to win championships, but are dedictated enough to make the sacrifices to win championships just like the kids who come (to Alabama). And it is going to happen."

Now that you have stood on the Alabama sidelines and coached against Alabama, how did it feel to be on the other side of the sidelines?
"A lot of people tried to make it out as a revenge thing. It meant to me the culmination of a lifetime dream. How many people ever get the chance to stand on the same sideline that they played on and where they stood next to Coach Bryant?"

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website. He can be reached by email at

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