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2009 A-Day Postgame Quotes



April 18, 2009


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Head Coach Nick Saban 
A-Day Postgame Quotes
Opening Statement ...
“First of all, we certainly appreciate the atmosphere that was created out there for our team. I think our fans coming out and us having over 80,000 people is a real positive for our players. It was great to have ESPN here today. It was tremendous exposure for the University, as well as the football team. We are excited about the day.

“The tradition that is emulated here on A-Day is something hard not to have tremendous respect for and respond to. Being out at Denny Chimes today and talking to the A Club guys that have worked so hard to develop the tradition that Alabama Crimson Tide people are so proud of and have so much passion for was great. All of those things I never have as much appreciation for during games because the game is the most important thing and you are worried about the team and that’s all you focus on. But on a day like today, going around and making about six speeches to those groups, it’s great to see the fans, it’s great to see the passion, and it’s great to see the enthusiasm, and it makes it really fun for the players. It was especially important for me to see Rashad Johnson, Antoine Caldwell and John Parker Wilson at Denny Chimes. It is a great tradition and those guys were fantastic leaders for our team. They certainly did a lot and are going to be difficult to replace because of the intangibles that they brought. They not only talked the talk, they walked the walk and they affected other people.

“The game itself today, I was really pleased with the first-team offense. I think they were on a mission today to prove that they could go out there and move the ball and play. I was especially pleased with Greg McElroy’s performance. I thought he did a very nice job out there. Obviously, we need to continue to improve on a lot of things on both sides of the ball. I was pleased, especially early on, with the energy and enthusiasm we had during the game. They came out there and moved the ball very effectively against the first-team defense, so I was pleased with that. There were some turnovers out there. Defensively, I think we came up with three or four turnovers, which is something we have done a good job of. There is one thing we need to do a better job of, and that is creating turnovers. It is difficult to tell from the stats how effectively you ran the ball because of taking sacks off of rushing yards. But, obviously we need to improve our ability to run the football. I think it will help once we get two of our running backs back and we continue to develop and make improvements in the offensive line. Our receivers made strides as well. Marquis Maze made plays out there today as a receiver as well as a runner on a couple of reverses. Julio made some big plays and is certainly capable of that and will be someone that people have to deal with. Defensively, one of the things that we minimized last year was giving up big plays. I think even though the defense played fairly well today, the one thing they did do is there were several big plays given up. If you are going to be a good defense, you can’t give up big plays and you have to be hard to score on in the red zone, which will be goals for our defensive team moving forward. Our specialists are capable of doing a little bit better.

“The one thing that is very apparent in a spring game is the guys who have mental energy and intensity and have that look in their eye and look at the game and have fun and look at it as an opportunity to play, compete, and improve play well. The guys who are more nonchalant about going out and looking at it as just another spring game don’t play as well. You can judge it all for yourself, but our goal moving forward is to get our team in the best possible position to get every player to be as good a football player and contribute in a positive way as best they can.

“There are going to be some opportunities for younger players that are developing players on our team, as well as young players who are going to come in as recruits, especially at certain positions. I think that, offensively, we don’t have enough depth and enough playmakers yet, so there will be some opportunities created for young people on our team now, as well as guys who are coming in. I don’t think we have enough depth in the offensive line. I think with the second offensive line, the quarterbacks didn’t have enough time. We also need to develop a back-up quarterback who can be an effective player with consistency. We have issues, we have challenges, and we look forward to those. I definitely think we can have a good football team if we have leadership and passion emerge in this team.”

On the playmaking ability of Marquis Maze ...
“He has made a lot of big plays this spring.  He is very fast and our most explosive guy off the line against any kind of close coverage.  He has ability to run with the ball and has improved his hands, which is a real key.  I think he is a guy that can be a real play maker for us in the future.  I am very, very encouraged by the spring that he had.”

On the separation between Star Jackson and Thomas Darrah ...
“I don’t know what the separation is at this point.  I think those guys are competing.  I think both need to make significant improvement.  I think both guys have made a tremendous amount of progress and they are both capable of developing into good quarterbacks.  Right now fundamentally, consistency — whether that’s reads, knowledge or experience — technically doing things well enough to be able to sustain their performance.  Both guys are too inconsistent and that’s something that we need to continue to work on throughout the summer, as well as fall camp.   They are both young guys and I’m sure — we’re sure — we feel comfortable that both guys, who have a great attitude, will improve significantly between now and then.”

On whether or not Greg McElroy has established himself as the No. 1 quarterback ...
“To me it doesn’t matter.  I think everybody knows that watched the game today and that has been to practice every day who our players have the most respect for, who has the most knowledge and experience, the guy that has shown with his consistency and performance that he is far and away our best quarterback right now.  We don’t have a depth chart for anybody yet.  I think he knows that somebody has to beat him out. I think you know that, and I think that I know that, so I don’t know why you need to keep asking that.”

On the job of the offensive line ...
“I think they did a good job.  We gave up some big plays and big plays change field position.  I wasn’t highly crazy about the way we played on defense today, to be honest with you.  The first defense can play better.  They should have a higher expectation.  I think there needs to be more discipline in guys doing what they are supposed to do.  I think there are a few guys that think they are a little better than they are, and it changes their attitude about how they go about their work.  If we weren’t out there in front of 80,000 people today I would have let them know it, but that’s alright because they will find out soon enough.  We have a meeting on Monday.”

University of Alabama Player Quotes
A-Day Post Game Quotes

Marquis Maze, WR
On the excitement of being the MVP…
“Yes sir it really was exciting. Given the opportunity, I did what I had to do.”

On the reverses ran…
“We work on those during practice and I always see an opening so as long as I got the opportunity I just did what I had to do.”

On playing in front of a large crowd…
“It’s exciting but it was just like this last year so it really wasn’t much different, there was just a difference in how I played between this year and last year. We have some of the greatest fans in the country.”

Greg McElroy, QB
On the TD to Julio Jones…
“It was actually my third read. I started my read at the tight end, then worked over to the over-route, then looked to Julio on the backside and it was good. He got open and made a play. I knew exactly where he was going to be and I guess that’s what all the execution over the spring led to and I was excited we got the points out of it.”

On what the crowd means…
“It means more to us than anyone could ever imagine. All the hard work we put in throughout the offseason, it feels good to have our fans come out and support us. To have the type of atmosphere they had today, I mean, it wasn’t just a relaxed atmosphere, the fans were going wild. It was extremely enjoyable and I thank all the fans for coming out today.”

Cory Reamer, LB
On the first-team defense’s play…
“In the first half we didn’t execute like we needed to and gave up a couple big plays. But, then, in the second half we came out and dominated.  We didn’t really give up much, and really executed like we were supposed to in the entire game. We made a couple mental errors in the first half and gave up the two touchdowns but we got better as the game went on.”

On returning six of the front seven…
“It’s nice to have nine of 11 back from last year. We don’t have to worry about certain positions we might be weak at because we have a great amount of depth in the front seven because we brought in some guys and a lot of guys are getting experience so we can rotate guys in and out. We know guys are going to be fresh and be able to get pressure on them and stop the run.”

On Dont’a Hightower’s play…
“He’s an animal. He gets after it so much and it’s unbelievable how talented he is. He’s just going to do more and more as the year goes on and he gets older.”

Terrence Cody
On the defensive line…
“Like I said a while back I think we’re better on the defensive line than we were last year because we have more experience, we have guys who played in big games and then we have the freshmen who were redshirted last year who are stepping it up. Everybody knows what they’re doing and they wanted to go out there and all have fun and just beat them off the line.”

On the atmosphere…
“It was crazy. I felt like I was coming out in a real game. The stadium was almost fully packed and it got loud like a real game. They give us so much support and we appreciate what they do for us and we know they appreciate what we do on the field.”