Sept. 24, 2011
Final Stats |
Head Coach Nick Saban
It was a great team win. When I say team win, I’m talking about all the players, all the fans, all the people in the organization who contribute to the success of the team in every way. The fans were great out there today. The atmosphere was great. I think it affected their offense a little bit. We did a great job on special teams today. We came up with two big plays that both came out to be scores. I’m really proud of the way we played on defense. They have a really good offense, a team that’s really hard to defend. They have really good receivers. They made mistakes, they made plays. We made a few, all things that can be correctable. I was really proud of the way we were able to run the ball and have balance offensively. AJ McCarron did a very good job of managing the game today. We did a lot of no huddle stuff where we could see what they were doing so it could take us out of some bad plays. I really felt like that was our key to the game. We ask every guy on our team to step up and be the best football player you can be today. Now is the time to do it. We are in SEC play and this is a big game for us in our division. They have a really good football team and I was really proud of the way our players did what they did out there today. C.J. Mosley was the one guy we lost in the game with an elbow injury. He never returned. He’s probably going to be day to day and probably questionable for the next game, but we really don’t know right now. We will have to wait and see and play that one by ear. AJ came in but has no issue or problem. He never even missed a series so he’s fine. We just wanted to make sure he didn’t have an issue. We had some other guys banged up. It was a physical game out there. It was two good football teams out there playing. I’m really proud of the way our guys competed in the game, and played hard for 60 minutes. A lot of players played and had roles in the game. They all did a really good job. I can’t thank our fans enough for the job that they did in affecting the entire game, it was great.
On the interception returned for a touchdown being a game-changing play:
I think it probably was because, down when we didn’t score, when we had the ball inside the one (yard line), and we ended up having to settle for a field goal, I think the momentum of the game changed a little bit right there. On the next series for us to intercept and score on defense, was probably huge. That was a big turning point in the game from a momentum stand point, and you know, we need to make more plays like that, get more turnovers. I don’t think we had a lot of sacks today, but we sure did affect the quarterback, and that’s probably the key to the day.
On the defense shutting down the run game of Arkansas:
We knew going into the game that if you look at Arkansas, everybody talks about what a great pass offense team they are, and they are, but when they are able to run the ball effectively against you, you really have issues because now you are off balance all the time. We got a lot of split coverages today. They didn’t run the ball, and when they did, other than the one trap play where we got trapped and we got a holding call, I thought we did a pretty good job upfront of being able to manage their runs. I think that is a real key to being successful. That was still the first goal for the defense, to stop the run, and, when they could get balanced on offense, then we really have problems. If you can stay ahead of them in the down and distance and not let them create that balance, then we have a better chance to at least play football with them, which is what they play a lot of the time. Then we can match up and have a chance to cover them.
On the pass coverage and the open field tackling:
I think that is a real key. They have really good receivers, number 3 (Joe Adams) and number 4 (Jarius Wright) are both great guys, running after the catch, and they throw to them on those crossing patterns, and our guys did a really good job of watching those today and did a good job of tackling them in space. When you play teams that spread you out, that is exactly what you need to do. It’s hard to deny them the ball if they are in empty, but if you can get the ball to come out quick and tackle the ball and affect the quarterback, they can only block five. That’s probably a real key, and I thought we did a real good job of mixing it up, did a real good job of disguising today. I think at times there was some confusion and probably the thing that we struggled with the most was when they just stayed and unloaded to people, that’s where they made a couple of big plays on us and we finally started playing nickel and that helped us a lot.
On DeQuan Menzie’s Play:
DwQuan played really well for us, and last year we knew he was a good cover guy, he was a good player, but because he was coming off an injury, he never really learned and developed in the summer time, so we just strictly played him in the nickel and he was really very comfortable and confident. He’s a really good cover guy. He really matched up well on the one third and three, coverage was soft, thought he did a really good job.
#89 Michael Williams, Tight End
On touchdown grab, sparking entire game and getting offense going
It gave us a spark, but we’ve worked on that for about two years now. We just happened to bring it to the game plan this weekend. It worked out perfect.
On running game, how offensive line paved way for running backs
We knew we had a challenge this week, with an SEC team. If you’re going to win in the SEC, you’ve got to run the ball. Coach [Saban] has challenged us all week to run the ball. We got here today and that’s what we did.
#73 William Vlachos, Offensive Line
On play of offensive line
That’s the biggest thing, getting the win to open up conference play is huge. That was a great football team that we played. We started off fast on the first drive, then we kind of hit a lull. They did some things defensively that we didn’t execute the way we needed to against them. It’s how you finish. I think we finished well and we continued to pound them up front and continue to give great effort and it turned out very well for us.
On athleticism of offensive line to be able to block for screen passes
It’s an important part of our offense. We get a lot of reps at it in practice, and I think that’s why we have success with it. We don’t neglect it. Every week we focus on it, on executing the screens properly. We had a long one for a touchdown today, which was huge. It was kind of a momentum changer when it happened. It was a well-blocked play and Trent [Richardson] did the rest.
#4 Mark Barron, Defensive Back
On the secondary play today
It just all came down to knowing your assignment and playing physical ball, that’s all it was. Everybody communicated well and when we all communicate and focus on every play we get great results like that.
On being fired up and keyed in for the game
We were definitely ready to go. They talked a lot coming in and that only motivated us so to come out and do what we did made us feel kid.
#30 Dont’a Hightower, Linebacker
On the defensive performance
Well we set out to establish that we were going against the best offense in the SEC and a lot of people were labeling us as the best defense in the SEC, so we wanted to go out and show people what we were capable of with all cylinders turning.
On only allowing 17 yards rushing 200 yards passing
Well we did a good job on the run and we feel like we didn’t get to the quarterback as much which led to the 200 yards passing, but we are going to get in the film room, get ready for Florida and make corrections from this game.
Head Coach Bobby Petrino
They beat us. They beat us in all three phases of the game. In the first half, I thought our defense did a great job of keeping us in the game with the goal-line stand. That gave us a chance to come out in the second half and do something offensively but we just couldn’t do it. They made big plays and we didn’t. They hurt us with the fake field goal, the punt return for a touchdown and the screen pass for a touchdown. We just couldn’t get anything established today.
On why Arkansas’ ground game couldn’t get going:
It was a combination of everything. Alabama played really good defense. When we tried to run the ball, we didn’t do a very good job of doing that. One of our goals going into the game was to move forward and not have negative plays. That’s what hurt us. Anytime you have negative plays, Alabama is going to get you.
On Tyler Wilson’s play:
He got hit a lot. He had a real nice series there in the first quarter. He stood in there and executed well. He made some good plays but we didn’t give him a lot of help with protection. We didn’t give him help in getting open and to make plays. The one that did hurt us, which you cannot do, is the interception in the first half. We were in a position to go into halftime in good shape. Instead, we gave them seven points.
On DeQuan Menzie’s interception for Alabama:
I don’t think it changed the momentum. It just puts you seven points behind. We went into halftime 17-7 coming off that goal-line stand. It was up to us to go out in the second half and score but we couldn’t do it.
On Marquis Maze’s punt return for a touchdown for Alabama:
I thought we got pretty good hang time. We definitely had guys down the field. When we watch the video we’ll see four or five missed tackles. It was just a great play by him.
#4 Jarius Wright, Wide Receiver
On what he attributes the offense not executing well to:
All 11 guys have to do their job. The offensive line does their job, the quarterback does his job, running backs and receivers do their job. If all 11 guys don’t do their job on each play, it’s going to be like it was out there tonight.
On the difficulties moving the ball:
Like I said, we weren’t executing like we were supposed to. People weren’t doing their job each play like we’re supposed to. On offense all 11 guys have to do their jobs”
#8 Tyler Wilson, Quarterback
On Arkansas’ inability to establish the run:
“You’d like to be able to run the football and we’d like to work on that. But we also have to throw the ball better than we did today. I think there was a lot left on the field.”
On Arkansas’s ability to get over this loss
“It depends on the maturity of the football team and the leadership within the team. Preparing this next week to go after Texas A&M and to get a win there will be crucial.”