Philip Pearson Press Conference Transcript

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Feb. 3, 2009

Tuscaloosa, Ala. -

Interim head coach Phillip Pearson
Opening statement ...
“We’re looking forward obviously to getting up to Nashville on Wednesday night and having a chance to play at Vanderbilt on Thursday. They had a great win over the weekend at Auburn, and I thought they played very well having a chance to watch that tape. Jermaine Beale is a player for them who shoots the ball extremely well, 7-8 from the three-point line, and obviously he and Ogilvy, had been now for two years, are two big concerns for us on Thursday night.

We are once again faced with a Thursday night game which is a little bit of a different deal for us, so we got in for a little while yesterday and spent the better part of the day just working on ourselves. We worked on our team offensively and defensively, that sort of thing. We’ll move on this afternoon and work more on Vanderbilt and start to get ready for them. It should be a good game and a big week for us.”

On team’s success defending post players and defending Ogilvy ...
“He’s certainly an excellent post player, and he’s not just limited to playing the post. He’s very skilled. We’ll give him some different looks throughout the game whether it’s man or zone.”

On the difficulty of playing at Vanderbilt ...
“It is a unique place to play, and one of the reasons that it’s been so tough is that frankly Vanderbilt has had some pretty good basketball teams. I think I won once or twice up there as a player; Robert Horry had a big night as I remember in either ’90 or ’91, but it’s a difficult place to play with the benches and so forth and so on. I hope that it’s something that we won’t let affect our game anymore than we have to. Again, we’re looking forward to getting up there and having a chance to play.”

On preparation for unique layout at Vanderbilt ...
“We like to get into the gym, and for this particular game we’re going to have a chance to get in there on Wednesday night as well as Thursday with our normal walk-through shoot-around situation. We’ll have a chance to get in there two times and obviously get over there a little bit before the game, but we won’t treat it as anything any different from any other game to be perfectly frank with you.”

On using flashcards or signals to communicate during the game
“I do think that the signaling aspect of things probably comes a little bit more into play in a game like this where the players are a little bit further away from you and you’re looking at the back of their heads, at least your point guards head, for the first half. It could be something that could be a little bit different, but we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to manage that situation throughout the game.”

On the fairness of Vanderbilt’s home court ...
“I don’t know. I guess as the visiting team you would prefer to play just like normal, but as long as I’ve been living and watching games, playing in games and coaching in games that gymnasium hasn’t changed, and if I were Vanderbilt I wouldn’t change it until they made me.”

On where Alabama sits in the league standings ...
“I think we’re right in the thick of it. Of course, everybody’s six or seven games into the league, and much like you’d expect in any given year there are a lot of teams that have a chance. It’s sort of topsy-turvy, a few upsets this past weekend, so we feel that we are right in the thick of things. We look at this week as a big picture type of thing it looks like a big week with two big road games, and you feel great if you’re able to get one win or two wins. We’re looking forward to it, but at the same time you try to keep your team on a little bit of an even-keel when you’re playing 16 games. You don’t want to necessarily build up this game anymore than the next one or the game you just played, so we’ll just get ready. It’s Vanderbilt, the next game on the schedule, and we’re getting ready for Vanderbilt. That’s how we’re going to look at it.”

On first win versus Georgia ...
“Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve had time to get high or get low. Obviously we are excited anytime to get the win, and last week was a very trying week,, so we were happy to get the win on Saturday night because Georgia is not an easy team to play, and I felt like our guys hung in there pretty well with the game. We took Sunday off, and again we have sort of an extra day this week to get prepared. We just tried to take a deep breath on Sunday and get back in a little bit more of a normal routine moving forward.”

On Nick Saban talking to the team ...
“I was very appreciative that he agreed to come over. I thought that that could be something good for our team, and obviously he’s a great coach who’s been around a lot of different teams over the years. He just visited with our guys for 15 or 20 minutes on Friday afternoon, and really he just talked about being a part of an athletic team, being on a team, and building preparation for individuals and playing as a team and playing unselfish, playing hard. I thought it was great talk, and I’m thankful he was able to do it.”

On if there's a common thread in SEC road losses
“I don’t know if there is necessarily a common thread. Not be so blunt or so direct, but when you go on the road you have to do two or three things, and one is you have to control the tempo of the game. You do that with your shot selection, being sure that you’re getting good shots for that particular player, and then on the other end, again very obviously, you have to be willing to get out and defend somebody whether it’s in man or zone. Most of the times when you get on the road and you end up not getting the job done then you’ve probably failed in one of those areas. Looking back to the Arkansas game for example, I think certainly there in the first half there were times where we didn’t defend them as well as we needed to and that had a direct result on the outcome of the game. Going back to the Kentucky game, which was a home game, but down the stretch we were right there in the game, it’s a 45-45 game, and we didn’t offensively execute as well as we needed to in order to give ourselves a chance to win the game. Those are two areas of focus, and certainly on the road those become even more important.”

On the challenge of playing at LSU on Sunday ...
“They’re playing great, I think they’re 5-1 in the league now. Of course, they’re only loss came when they opened in Tuscaloosa, opened up the season. I think coach Johnson has done a great job getting in there with that team and getting them to buy into his philosophy and play the way he wants them to play. They’re playing very effectively. They’ve been very impressive; I haven’t seen a bunch of their games, just bits and pieces, but they’ve been very impressive to me when I’ve had the chance to watch them on television. We know that they will have a great environment down there, and Alabama vs. LSU always seems to be a great game, so it’ll be a tough environment, but we’re looking forward to it.”

On the reason the team occasionally takes bad shots ...
“Pressure defense is obviously something that can make you get a little bit out of sync. Georgia liked to pressure you in their man-to-man but also they change their defenses a lot, which again can affect your shot selection and the timing of your offense. The shot clock can come into play; 35 seconds can get away from you before you know it, and actually I was pretty pleased, you take a guy like Alonzo Gee last week who goes 8-16 and 6-8 for 20 points on Saturday.  I thought that was just a whale of a performance for Alonzo. We’re going to try to keep making strides and defining the shot selection of our team and moving forward offensively hoping that we can execute better as we move into the second half of the season.”