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Post-Game Quotes - 2014 Golden Flake A-Day Spring Football Game



April 19, 2014

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban

Opening Statement:

“Nobody ever has a bad spring game, let’s start with that. I think first of all, everyone needs to understand that I was very encouraged by the offseason program that we had with this team. I was very encouraged by the spring practice that we had, but I think everyone needs to understand that in games like today, we really limit what we do on offense and defense and we really don’t feature players. I think that may be a little bit of a disadvantage sometimes to our players. With Blake Sims, there are probably some things that he can do as a quarterback that we really don’t feature in this game. For him to be an effective player at his position, in fairness to him, it’s probably good for us to do things like that. We really don’t feature our skill guys very much, but Amari Cooper had a great spring as did Christion Jones. We had three running backs that had very good springs.

“I didn’t think the consistency on offense was what I would’ve liked for it to have been today. We did make some plays, but there wasn’t the consistency that you would like to see in the offense. However, when you play against each other, what’s good for one is not so good for the other. So, you have to give the defense some credit. I really thought that our front people on defense made a lot of improvement this spring. We’re more athletic, we probably have more depth, we have more guys that can rush, and I think that showed up in the game today.  We have some players coming in here in the fall that are going to get some opportunities to contribute at some critical positions. It will also be great to get DeAndrew White back, who’s a significant player at receiver. Darren Lake and Eddie Jackson are guys that I think could contribute a lot to our team.

“I think the challenge for our team is if you want to continue to have success on a consistent basis, everyone has to buy in to the process of the system of what we do. You can’t start questioning it, you have to buy in to it, and you have to believe in it. Everyone has to be a team guy, everyone has to check their ego at the door, there can’t be any of that ‘what about me’ stuff going on, and everything has to start with I need to be the best player I can be for the team. Then, everyone has to ask themselves, I am blank? I am what? This is because everyone has to have a common belief in the things that have made us a good program here. I’m talking about things like toughness, hard work, giving effort, finishing plays, finishing games, and the vision of the standard that we have for the kind of relentless competitive teams that we want to have and have had in the past.

“I think we finished the season very well last year and in some ways I could say even though we had a great offseason and a great spring, I would’ve like to finish them a little bit better. So, that is something that we have to work on and I think everybody has to know that it takes some psychological endurance that you build in the offseason and in the off months to be able to sustain the kind of performance when things get difficult. I am very encouraged by the team that we have, I’m very encouraged by the attitude that we have on our team, I am certainly looking forward to working with this group and us improving over the summer and getting a great start to the season next year when we start fall camp.”

On the performance of the defensive front seven:

“I think we have a lot of experienced players. (D.J.) Pettway and (Jarran) Reed add a lot of depth and athleticism to that group. A’Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen were both freshman last year, and I always say that you make the most improvement between your freshman and sophomore year. Those guys got to play a lot last year; they’ve both had great springs. We had three inside linebackers that I thought played really well. Trey Depriest had a really good spring. Reggie Ragland and Rueben Foster as well. We also had three guys that played really well at outside linebacker. Denzell Devall, Xzavier Dickson, and Dillon Lee, those guys all had really good springs. Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson both contributed and improved. From the front seven stand point, I feel a lot further along. There’s maybe not quite enough depth at inside linebacker, but there will be opportunities for younger guys to develop at that position.”

On the performance of the special teams:

“Adam Griffith is a really talented guy. Obviously, we would like for him to be a little more consistent. We recruited a guy that is a very good kicker as well as a punter, and there will be competition in the fall to play the guy who has the most consistency in terms of kicking. I think statistically, we were first in the SEC in special teams and 12th in field goal percentage last year. So, we look at the stats from last year and try to improve on them this year: that’s how you make goals. Our goal is to be more consistent in that part of our kicking game. Our special teams were very good, but you have to have two parts: you have special teams and you have to have specialists. That’s’ definitely one of the areas that we need to improve on.”

On the performance of Cameron Robinson:

“I think Cam is going to be a work in progress. He’s a very talented guy, and he made some mistakes today. For example, we threw a screen, he blocked the wrong guy, and because he blocked the wrong guy, the screen got intercepted and run back for a touchdown. But I think all those things are learning opportunities. Everyone talks about experience, but how do you get experience? You get experience by making mistakes. We need for him to learn from those mistakes, which he will, and he’ll develop and improve. He did some good things, and he’s done some really good things all spring long, but we have been consistently better on the offensive line when he’s playing. He’s a very good pass blocker, but my expectation would be that for a guy that’s a freshman and only been here a couple months, he still has a lot to learn.”

On the performance of the quarterbacks:

Blake had a really good spring, and he did a really good job in the scrimmages. I thought in the game he was trying to speed everything up a bit, and he tried to speed up with it rather than stay in his rhythm. It’s like when a baseball pitcher tries to throw the ball a little harder and all of a sudden he can’t throw a strike. I think there’s a lot of things he could do to be an effective quarterback that he didn’t do in this game today. We recruited a guy, and Blake knows this, and Blake embraced the guy before the game, but they’re going to compete through the summer and through the fall. But it’s also our goal for the quarterback to be the distributor of the ball.”


#70 Ryan Kelly, Center

On the offensive line’s performance progression throughout spring practice

“I think from the beginning of spring until now, especially with a new offense and new guys in there, we were kind of were going uphill. We kind of tapered off last week. Going into summer time, we want to keep progressing which is what we are doing right now. Obviously there were new guys out there in a big atmosphere today. I think it was good for them to get used to how it can be sometimes. I think from an offensive line standpoint, we just need to be more together as five. Obviously, offensive line is a big part of that, that we are all together on the same page. So communication is key and something we will work on all summer.”

On T.J. Yeldon’s performance

“It is great having a running back like that, especially as an offensive lineman. To have a guy like that who can miss defenders, obviously not every play is going to be perfect but with a guy like that back there running the ball some big plays can spring up. We just wish we could have done a little bit better blocking to make those big plays happen today. ”

#29 Landon Collins, Safety

On the defense today:

“Just the communication. We all have to stay on the same page and make sure that each other knows what is going on and doing the right thing.”

On the competition today:

“There’s always competition with this team. We are always trying to play for our positions, especially against the offense. The defense and the offense are trying to prove something to the nation. So it’s competition daily, and that’s why we love it.”

On the spring:

“The positives would be our communication skills have grown as a whole. At the safety position, at the linebacker position, along the defensive line, all of us are communicating well as a unit. Our defensive line has done a great job. The thing we need to work on is tackling. It’s been a while since we have been tackling.”