Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Football vs. Kent State - Postgame Quotes



Sept. 3, 2011

Recap |  Final Stats |  Photo Gallery 

Recap |  Final Stats | 

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban
Opening statement:
Obviously it's a good win for us. It's always good to get a win under your belt. There were a lot of things that we did well today. We ran a lot of good plays, and we had a lot of players get experience. That experience also brings a lot of learning opportunities for our young guys that play critical positions. We have a lot to learn and a lot of things we can improve on.
Defensively, I thought we played really well today. Offensively, at times we played well, but we had four interceptions, and the ball was on the ground four more times. We lost one of those, but turnovers are critical. We've got to do a much better job of taking care of the ball. We need more explosive players on offense.
Marquis Maze did a fantastic job today, not only with catches but in general on the kicking game and return game. We need more guys to step up and be explosive players on offense. We have receivers that we think can be significant contributors that didn't play today. Hopefully we will get them out there one day this week to contribute next game. After this next game, I think their knowledge and experience is going to help our offense tremendously.
You have to give Kent State a lot of credit. Their guys played hard and never gave up in the game. I probably reminisced more about college this week than I have for the last 10 years put together with all the questions about games you've played and players that you've played with and having some old teammates from this game. I was proud to be associated with Kent State University and the way they played today. I am proud of our team for being able to hang in there to get a win, but certainly to improve on a lot of things that are pretty obvious to most people.
On the two quarterbacks:
 I think that sometimes there are good interceptions and sometimes there are bad interceptions. A couple of those were bad interceptions because he didn't throw the ball to the right place, some of them weren't so bad interceptions because they're balls that could have been caught that got tipped that the other team ends up intercepting. I think there are good interceptions and bad interceptions, and we had a couple of bad ones, and there is a lot to learn from it. One we should have been throwing the ball hot off the edge, knew that, just didn't trust it and do it, got hit when we threw it. Those are things that we learn from. And when you play with young players at quarterback, there's a lot of things that can happen. AJ (McCarron), having a little more poise, having played a little bit more, probably played with a little more poise today, but we have a lot of confidence in Phillip (Sims) and in most cases he plays extremely well. I think he learned a lot out there today and I think he will be a very good player for us here.
On the offensive line and the play of Cyrus Kouandjio:
I like to be able to look at the film first. There was nothing glaring that he didn't do, he didn't give up a lot of sacks, made some out calls, you know they did a lot of pressure from the corner and fire zones and he did a pretty good job of blocking out on them and doing the right thing, so, I think he did a pretty good job today but I'd like to be able to watch the film, you know I'm a skill guy, so I don't spend a lot of time watching the offensive line, I'm watching the route runners and the coverage and the quarterbacks and all that kind of stuff. I watch them (the offensive line) on the film. So, you know, I can give you a better report on those guys.
On Barrett Jones playing three different spots on the offensive line:
We have practiced him at really the only place that he hasn't practiced this whole year is where he played for two years- he hasn't practiced one snap at right guard, and I think that's what he has always played. So, we have even played him at right tackle. And I was a little disappointed that we didn't get a few plays at right tackle in. But, I really told (William), because we know that Kellen Williams is the backup center, who was injured with a sprained ankle and didn't play today, thought he would be able to play today, but he couldn't play, so Barrett is kind of the backup center for now and we told him the series before that you're going to center, then they (Kent State) muffed the punt, punter muffs the ball and we get the ball on the one yard line so, I grab Vlachos when Barrett was already out there to be the center and I said, `if he fumbles this snap, if we don't get the snap here, it's your fault, cause you're supposed to run out there and say, I'm playing center, the coach is not supposed to change the center on the one yard line.' So, Barrett saved him- and Vlachos was actually a little scared.
On room for improvement on defense:
We have a lot of room for improvement on defense. We made some mental errors, and didn't cover some people at times, didn't make some adjustments and things that we didn't work on, we weren't challenged like we're going to be challenged with the level of skill players and the speed that we're going to play, so there's a lot of things we need to do better. We have not played consistently on the line of scrimmage, like we need to against good teams, when we play good teams down the road, not that I don't have all the respect in the world for Kent State, but even against our own team, sometimes we have not been able to dominate the line of scrimmage like we need to and like we have done in some past years. So, we have a lot of things to work on, and I think that everyone on our team needs to know that we're not going to play the same team next week, that we played last year. It was really hot when we played here last year, we went no huddle last year and they got tired. I played them for years and Michigan State, they always played better at Penn State than they did at Michigan State. So, they are going to be a better team this year and they are going to play better at their place and we are going to have a huge challenge. I'll tell you next week how good we are on defense.
#4 Marquis Maze, Wide Receiver
On the first game and what he saw,what he liked:
It just felt good to get back out there and face another opponent. As far as the team, I think we did a good job but we have a lot to improve on. We just have to see what we did wrong on Monday and fix it.
On his play and being able to help the team:
Coach just gave me an opportunity to make plays today and I tried to take advantage. It wasn't just me, it was the offensive line, the quarterbacks, special teams; those guys did an excellent job in helping me accomplish what I did today.
#73 William Vlachos, Center
On the first game and what he liked from the offense and offensive line:
It's always good to get the season started and it being my senior year, it was exciting. Up front we got to play a lot of people at different spots because we jumped out to a lead early but we probably did not keep the foot on the pedal like we should have. We turned the ball over some so we definitley need to get that corrected. We got a long ways to go but it was a good first game and I am looking forward to improving this next week in practice.
On getting to see people in different positions, and what he liked about it:
Well Barrett (Jones) is gonna be our backup center now so he got to get some reps at center. Cyrus (Kouandjio) was a little bit nervous but he came in there and did a really good job and we helped him communicate and I think its good to get the first game action under his belt for guy like that.  We all look forward to improving and we are lucky that a lot of guys got to play so we will look at the film and try to clean it all up.

#41 Courtney Upshaw, Linebacker
On the overall defensive effort:
We all came out and wanted to dominate. Coach (Saban) tried to emphasis before the game to go out and dominate, and we are held to a high standard here, being from Alabama. The way our defense is from year in and year out. We just wanted to go out and execute.

On Alabama's play on rushing defense:
We've got goals to limit them to a certain amount of yards, and the more that we stop them, the more it is going to make them want to pass. With our secondary and corners, it's going to be fun for those guys.
#24 DeQuan Menzie, Defensive Back
On your performance as a group:
We know what to do this year. We are more prepared. We are more experienced. We are just taking it one game at a time.

On talk about the pressure up front from the front seven that helps you in the back end:
It helps tremendously, especially with Dont'a (Hightower), (Damion) Square, (Courtney) Upshaw and all the people on the front like Quinton Dial. We are doing a good job.

Kent State Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Darrell Hazell
Opening statement:
Well that was obviously not the way we wanted to start out. I'm frustrated that we didn't execute offensively, but I thought the defense played well once we settled in. Our special teams didn't play very well. We dropped a punt, had one dribble back and our kickoff returns weren't good enough. We need to stay together as a team though. I believe we will, but we need to get a whole lot better by next weekend.
On the positives of today's game:
There were definitely some positives.  I thought the defense and offense never gave up, but we didn't execute very well. We had a lot of guys playing hard and we got some turnovers on defense. But we need to pay close attention to film next week and make some adjustments.
On Alabama's defense:
They're a great defense.  Their guards are hard to come by and the defense is excellent on every level.  We thought if we could get short-yard gains, that would be good for us, but they stuffed us for negative gains on many occasion. Their corners are excellent so we need to do a better job executing our game plan.
On missed chances to stop the running game:
I don't know if it was nerves or we were out of position, but we had too many missed tackles. We had a lot in the first and fourth quarter, so we need to get better in that facet.
On Bryant-Denny Stadium's atmosphere:
I don't think we were intimidated at all. We just didn't play as fast as we could. We didn't come off the ball with the speed we've been playing with in practice this past week.
On Spencer Keith's play:
I thought he did a great job today. I don't know how many drops we had but I guess it was in the double digits. He missed a couple throws but overall he played very well.
#22 Jacquise Terry, Running Back
On the next step for the offense heading into the second week of the season:
Definitely like coach said, we have to play faster. I felt like we were pretty physical today but we didn't execute at all times. We had some overthrows, we had some guys drop some balls, some negative runs, but we also made some play. We'll definitely play faster next week.

On the play of the defense:
The defense, they were ball-hawking all day. We gained momentum each time they made a turnover. But we [the offense] just couldn't execute the way we wanted to.

#3 Spencer Keith, Quarterback
On the speed and strength of Alabama's team
It was about what we expected. We did some good things, we completed some short passes and made a few good runs, but they were a good defense.  We knew that coming in and we just didn't execute right.

On the cheers Kent State received from the Alabama fans due to their assistance in tornado recovery efforts:
We noticed it when we ran out and while warming up. Like coach said, it was really classy.