Saban: "Oklahoma is an outstanding football team"

Louisiana State Head Coach Nick Saban talked about his Tigers' Sugar Bowl matchup with Oklahoma at a press conference Thursday in Baton Rouge. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

On playing in the Sugar Bowl
"We certainly look forward to getting started with the challenge that we have with the game against Oklahoma. It is a great opportunity that our players have created for themselves and we certainly want them to look at it as an opportunity to kind of bring a combination of what has been a great season for them."

"A lot of players have contributed in a lot of positive ways and we want to do everything we can as coaches to help them play their best football in this particular game. I think our approach to this game has to be like it has been in games past. You are probably going to end up playing against one of the best football players you have played against all year, so you better get yourself prepared to do that by the way we work in the next couple of weeks in preparation for this game. We would have liked to have started practicing for this game the day after the SEC Championship game, but really it is kind of our theory that looking at a bowl game, even a game of this magnitude, is kind of a one-game season. The players need to get a little down time and take finals, do what they need to do so that that now when we get back into it they are ready to roll. We will spend three of four days working on fundamentals and then we will start our preparation for Oklahoma."

On Oklahoma
"Oklahoma is an outstanding football team. If you talk about a dominant program and a dominant team they are certainly that. They have the highest scoring offense in the country and the No. 1 total defense in the country. When Chad Lavalais and I went to the ESPN Awards Show last week for him being a finalist for the Outland Trophy Award, I know more about this team (Oklahoma) from that outing because they had about six or seven guys there and we had one. Chad and I decided that wasn't the time to pick a fight. They have a lot of good football players. I know five or six All-Americans and the Heisman Trophy winner in Jason White their quarterback. They are very well coached and have done a great job in their program. Bob Stoops (Oklahoma head coach) has done a great job there and has been a good head coach for a long time. This is going to be a very challenging game for us."

On how they'll use December to prepare for the Sugar Bowl
"Well I think you can start preparation for a game too early and I think you can practice too much for a game. I think the thing that you do not want your players to do is getting bored with the preparation or practice too much and then wear them down. We never won any bowl games at Michigan State but we sure did have some good practices. We practiced every weekend so the recruits could see it but I just think it is impossible to carry the momentum of the season into a game like this without totally backing everybody out because there is just too much time. We are going to have seven practices in six days here and then be off for four days and resume seven practices in New Orleans beginning on Dec. 28. I think anymore than 14 practices is too many and that is how many we are going to have for this game."

On if they've faced a team similar to OU this season
"I do not really know but they are not a whole lot different in style and scheme on defense than how we play. In fact, we have visited a few times while we have been here with Mike (Stoops), who was the defensive coordinator and now the head coach at Arizona, because there are some similarities. I think on offense they use multiple personnel groups and multiple formations. Probably Alabama might be one of the closest teams at least in formations that you could compare Oklahoma too. They (Oklahoma) do a great job in execution and they are very athletic. They are probably the most athletic team that we have played on both sides of the ball. They probably run better than most teams that we have played so far. They are very multiple with what they do on offense. They have lots of personnel groups, a lot of formations, and they try to confuse you and make the defense adjust a lot. Their plays are not complicated but the adjustments can be."

"I think they have very good players and they run well. They are very well coached. I think on offense, the multiple formation groups are the same but they create a lot more adjustment problems for a defensive team than most people we play. They get in a lot of formations, like bunch formations, that other than against Alabama we have not seen a lot of this year."

On OU's confidence after losing after losing to Kansas State
"Every team has a chemistry. I would say that they would not be the team that they are if they were a fragile team. So I do not think something like that is going to affect them very much."

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