TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke to reporters on Wednesday in his final news conference of Mississippi State week.
No. 1 Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC) hosts Mississippi State (4-5, 2-3) on Saturday at Noon ET on ESPN.
Highlights from Saban’s time at the podium:
- We’ve had a pretty good week so far this week. It’s certainly a challenge for us to get ready for a Mississippi State team that’s playing their best football of the season.
- We’re looking forward to being back in Bryant-Denny Stadium. I hope the environment and atmosphere is good. We need players to start fast, but we all need to start fast too.
- I don’t know that an 11 a.m. game means anything unless it means anything to you. The time of the game shouldn’t matter. If you’re a good player, you’re going to be ready to play no matter when the game is.
- Jonathan Allen is a very task-orientated type of guy. That could be because of his family’s military background. His father holds him to a very high standard. He also holds himself to a very high standard. We recruited him as a defensive lineman, and weren’t sure if he’d be able to play all the position and thought maybe he’d just be a pass rusher. He’s grown and gotten bigger and stronger which has helped a lot. He’s a real warrior on this team in terms of doing whatever is necessary. He’s been very, very productive all year. I can’t say enough good things about him.
- The improvement in the passing game wasn’t noticeable in the last game. LSU has a really good secondary. Jalen Hurts has had a really good week this week. I just sat down with him and went through some plays and showed him that it’s not that complicated, and we don’t want to make it more complicated than it is. Sometimes it’s tough for guys who are good at running as quarterbacks to become complete players because they know they can always take off. We still need to do a better job of getting our skill players involved.
- We don’t care as much about the sack numbers. We want to affect the quarterbacks. Pushing the pocket, covering on the back end, hitting the quarterback and things like that affect the quarterback. We have affected quarterbacks this year, and we need to continue to do that more. It’s going to be even more important to do that this week.
- Reuben Foster is wearing the club on his hand because he hurt his finger. Won’t affect him in games.
- Ronnie Harrison has been a good player for us all season. He’s mature and knows what he’s supposed to do. Sometimes he gets a little emotional, but he’s done a good job for us.
- We’re sorry that B.J. Emmons got hurt because he was coming along and doing well. He was started to be the kickoff returner. Our guys are banged up. We have Derrick Gore who can help contribute.
- I didn’t even know yesterday was Election Day. I don’t make any political statements. I want what’s best for our country. Hopefully our new leader does what’s best for our country.
- We’ve always tried to promote new leaders on our team. We want guys to step up no matter what class a guy is in or what his status on the team is. We want our players to affect other people in a positive way.