KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke to reporters following the Crimson Tide’s 49-10 win over Tennessee on Saturday.
Highlights from Saban’s time at the podium:
- I was really proud of our players today. We said we wanted a complete game today, and they certainly did that.
- We wanted to make sure the other team never gained any momentum and had to play 60 minutes in the game. We obviously did that.
- I think the defense played outstanding, but our ability to run the ball took a lot of time off the clock and kept them off the field. I think our guys just did a really, really good job.
- This is as proud as I’ve been of our team all year long in terms of playing a complete game against a very good team, especially in a tough environment.
- There are some things we can do better, and some things we can improve on. But this is one game in a run of games that we have that we need to take it one game at a time and improve.
- We had a lot of guys do a really good job today, and I’m really proud of them.
- The fact that we scored two non-offensive touchdowns again today is really something special about this team. Hopefully we can keep them coming. We just have to keep on working and taking it one game at a time.
- Tennessee has a really good team. I thought this would be a difficult game for us. Our players certainly did a good job.
- I got on Jalen a couple of times today. The good thing about Jalen is, he always takes it right. I always ask him in the locker room, ‘Should I have got on you?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ So, he agrees. He made some good throws today. He missed some throws. He missed some reads. He turned the ball over twice in the first half. He’s getting better every week. His ability to run is something that gives defenses a lot of problems. If we can continue to improve in the passing game with the level of skill guys that we have, that would be something that would make a big impact on what we can do offensively.
- I think when you run the ball on the perimeter as much as we do, it’s critical that your wide receivers block well. On all of Jalen’s long runs, we cracked somebody and made some effective blocks. It says a lot about ArDarius Stewart, Calvin Ridley, O.J. Howard and all the receivers we have that could be worried about how many passes they’re catching, but they just want to do what’s best on the perimeter.
- We were a little soft on defense early. They gave us a lot of different formations. Once we fixed some things, the guys were more comfortable. Tennessee has good players. No. 1 and No. 6 are good players. When they make 5 yards, it’s not that you played bad. They’ve got good players.
- Lane Kiffin has done a good job of bringing our offense along. We just have to continue to improve in the passing game. Some of those perimeter quarterback runs may not be there when we play better teams so we have to pass better.
- It was our plan today to play what we call nickel rabbits which means Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson both play defensive end. We usually play one of those guys and three big guys. We did it differently today because of their perimeter runs and the quarterbacks’ athletic ability. We played Clemson the same way in the second half. I think it helps because it gives us more multiples. We can substitute more and keep players fresh. It worked out well. I was a little concerned if we’d be able to stop the run, but I think Tennessee had a couple of offensive linemen out that made it difficult for them.
- Our non-offensive touchdowns have become somewhat contagious. Guys want to block for other guys and help other guys score so that’s always a good thing.