OXFORD, Miss. — Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke to reporters following the Crimson Tide’s SEC opener at Ole Miss on Saturday.
Highlights from Saban’s time at the podium:
- The only thing I was hoping for in here is a seat. “We got coaches getting IVs, we got players getting IVs, but the old fellow doesn’t need an IV cause they don’t make ’em like they used to.”
- What a great college football game. I never ever remember coming back from being 18 points down, and then get 18 points ahead. Then in seconds, let them score twice to get back in the game. The offense did a great job of taking the air out of it at end of the game.
- You have to give a lot of credit to all phases of the game today. I thought we did a good job on offense of controlling the ball. Defensively, we didn’t play great. We gave up too many big plays. But we score on defense. That was huge in the game. The score on punt return was huge in the game. All players in all phases contributed to this game. It was a great team win.
- Minkah Fitzpatrick went out, Eddie Jackson went out. Those guys will be OK. The only guy who’ll be questionable for next week is ArDarius Stewart, who has a knee sprain. We don’t think it’s severe, but we’ll make sure of all that. Hopefully he’ll be back in a couple of weeks.
- Jalen Hurts did a really good job of managing the game today. He gained a lot of yards rushing. We have to continue to work on the passing game.
- We didn’t play that bad on defense, but we made mental errors and gave up explosive plays.
- It was an unbelievable game for fans to watch. It was a really difficult game for an old coach to suffer through. But we made it.
- Our players competed from the heart to get back in the game in the second quarter. I’m proud of the way our players kept battling.
- There are things we need to correct, but we can get them corrected. There are so many lessons to learn from in this game.
- We’re going to give the players two days off. We’ll take Sunday and won’t practice Monday. This was a tough game. Hopefully we can get some of these guys rested up.
- We told the players that this would be a 60-minute game, and that we would have to wear them down and beat them in the second half.
- Players knew what happened in the Florida State game. Florida State kept pushing away after Ole Miss jumped on them in that game.
- We’ve been looking for a punt returner for two games. Eddie Jackson has always been a guy with great instincts and judgment. He may not be as explosive as some guys, but he is so good at picking his spots on interception returns. We had two opportunities for big returns in the first two games, and the returner missed them both.
- We ran the ball really effectively. We need to throw it a little better. I think Jalen Hurts sprained his wrist a little in the second quarter. That might have affected him a little bit, but he threw it better later.
- The fumble wasn’t Jalen’s fault. The right tackle was supposed to block No. 30, but he slid the wrong way. I don’t think you can put that on the quarterback. He’s very athletic. He can throw it, but we have to get him more comfortable when making his reads and getting the ball out quicker.
- Jalen being able to run the ball opened things up for us. Damien Harris played lights out.
- We pressured more in the second half. We made a lot of mental errors in the first half, and when you make mental errors, you get afraid to do those things. A couple of those sacks were linebacker plugs. We executed them well and got some pressure. We scored a touchdown on a sack fumble which is big in the game. Jonathan Allen scored a touchdown which was big because they were in the red area.
- I’ve never seen the axe that ArDarius Stewart was carrying before. I don’t think it had any impact on the game. I would rather him have his stuff on and playing. Hopefully we’ll get him back soon.
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