TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban took a wide range of questions during the SEC coaches teleconference on Wednesday.
No. 1 Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC) hosts Mississippi State on Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for noon ET on ESPN.
Here are the highlights from Saban’s time on the teleconference:
On the matchup with Mississippi State
“I think it’s really important for our guys to stay focused on the task at hand. Mississippi State’s really playing well now. They had a great win last week against a good Texas A&M team and played really well. I think they’re playing their best football of the season. Coming off an emotional game or us, we need to put that behind us and really stay focused on what we need to do to try to play well and execute in this game. We certainly have things that we need to work on and that’s what we’re trying to emphasize with our players.” — Saban
On when 100-yard rushing games for quarterbacks became so common
“I think it’s the day and age of football that we play in right now. I think a lot of the spread teams, and I think Dan was like this when he had Tebow at Florida. We went through the Wildcat phase where we ran some of these plays with a running back, but you knew that that guy couldn’t pass. Now, we’re running some of the same kind of plays as part of the spread that are actually with a quarterback.. When you have a talented guy that’s big and strong and athletic and can throw it pretty well, too, it makes it a very challenging thing to do to be able to play both of those things. That’s certainly what Mississippi State has been able to do, and this guy’s done a great job of doing that. He’s really done a good job for them. And they’ve gotten pretty good at it, and they know what they’re doing.” — Saban
On if Alabama and Mississippi State run similar offenses
“I think both teams have their own style of how they do it. There’s some similarities but also some differences. We’re focused on trying to get our quarterback to be a little more complete in what he needs to do to be an all-around good quarterback. We’re certainly trying to make progress with a young player and he’s responding in a positive way, so we’re going to continue to work on that.” — Saban
On having multiple running backs contribute
“I think it’s always good to have depth at the running back position. It’s the position that has the shortest shelf life in the NFL. When those guys have the ball, everybody’s trying to hit on them. We like having multiple backs that can play so that we can leave a little more tread on the tires as the season wears on. We lost B.J., which hurt us depth-wise. Now we have three guys and those guys are all a little bit different in style and we need all three of them to play. I think that’s really, really important, especially at this time of year.” — Saban
On knowing his team can win a shootout or a slugfest
“I think this team has shown a lot of resiliency all year long in terms of their competitive character and continue to focus on the next play, not lose their focus. I think that’s important, but I also think that some of the adversity that we’ve created for ourselves is what we would like to eliminate in terms of being a little bit more consistent in the execution of what we do, which may be helpful to us not putting ourselves in some of those situations that we’ve been in.” — Saban