Sept. 26, 2009
Final Stats |
Head Coach Nick Saban
"That was a good football team we played out there today, very good offensive team. I was really pleased with the defensive effort out there today. To hold those guys to seven points is really good and it was a team effort. Everybody covered who they were supposed to, the front people had some sacks, making the quarterback move in the pocket. Making him feel uncomfortable was probably a key to it. They have a very good offensive scheme. This is one of the most difficult offensive systems that we've had to defend. Bobby does a great job and he's got an outstanding quarterback.
Offensively we made some big plays. We had a plan to go after some of their corners a little bit in the game. We probably should have even done it more. Greg did a nice job, especially in the second half. We didn't play, in my opinion, our best game offensively. We struggled with blocking #96, who's a really good player. We didn't run the ball as efficiently as we have in the past. When I say efficiently I'm talking about +4-yard runs. There were too many negative plays, too many zero-gainers and one-yard, two-yard plays that got us behind in the down and distance, but we did a nice job overcoming it. We made some big plays and scored enough points to get the win, which is always the most important thing, and I thought Greg did a really good job. We did a great job on special teams today. Three penalties in special teams were really costly in field position. Two big returns were brought back because of penalties and the one time we hit the punter which cost us 15 yards but we have a lot of things that we can improve on. My message to the team was, "if you haven't sold out to the team yet, what are you waiting for?"
We certainly have things that we can improve on. I think we need to work on not getting too many penalties and stopping ourselves too much, but this is a great win and I'm very pleased and happy and proud of our team and the way we played, especially in these circumstances. I thought we tackled really well on defense today, for that kind of field, and that's a real key against their offense because they're going to throw those underneath routes to their little backs and those guys aren't real easy to get on the ground, and that was a real key to it as well. (It was a) great team win."
On Dont'a Hightower:
"He has a knee injury. We'll do an MRI tomorrow. The initial prognosis is not good, but we're hopeful that it won't be bad. We'll know for sure tomorrow, but the initial prognosis is not good. And there's a guy right there, he doesn't get talked about enough. He's a fine young man, a great leader on our team, one of our best football players on our entire team. The best pass-rusher we have, very good linebacker. Plays in the nickel, athletic size, and I hate to see any player get hurt, ever, but that one there is a good one.
On making up for the loss of Hightower:
Reamer's played inside linebacker before; he also plays what we call nickel, or the money position. So Anders went and played SAM, Courtney Upshaw went and played JACK and Anders kind of took his place and #41 (Upshaw) kind of took Anders' place, basically. But, we had a lot of scheme things for Dont'a to do in the game from a pass-rush standpoint and the other guys did a good job of filling in and executing."
On the touchdown out of the Wildcat:
"If you watch TV, you've probably seen it before. I think Miami scored a couple of touchdowns on that last year. Sweep, toss it back to the quarterback and throw it. That was a play that we were going to run in the first half no matter what and the situation at midfield to take a shot was a good time to do it, and (McElwain) did a great job of calling it.
Bobby (Petrino) is a great offensive coach, Kirby Smart is the defensive coordinator here and he did a fantastic job of getting our players ready to play the game. We have a defensive coordinator, we have an offensive coordinator. (Smart) did a great job today of calling the game, putting the plan together, teaching the players and all of that. I help him, I'm his GA, and that's it. All that got proven out there today is that I'm a better GA than somebody else. That's not really fair to our coaches on our staff or anyone else."
On getting to the quarterback:
"They were trying to slide the protections all the time on our pressures. I think some of the best pressure we got were edge pressures. We hit them a couple of times on boots. We actually had a cross done in the middle that we got some pretty good pressure on a couple of times, but played zone with it. Some of the things that we did today were not conventional. We would try to play cover-2 and rush the inside linebackers and do some things that are a little bit different so that (Mallett) wasn't always getting middle-of-the-field coverage and couldn't just throw it up to the corners. The one touchdown they scored we busted a coverage on motion and made a mental error. One guy was playing one thing and one guy was playing something else and it was just regular people. It was pro-to-slot motion, one of the simplest things that we ever play against and we made an error on it. We work so much on nickel, and purple and 5-wideouts and sometimes the most basic things are the ones you need the most work on."
On the play of the receivers:
"We have some pretty good skill guys; Marquis Maze is pretty fast, Julio (Jones) is pretty good at getting on top of people. I think that we have some big guys. #80, McCoy, he does a good job and Earl (Alexander) is fast too. Even if you don't complete those passes, you have got to throw them. We should throw them more than we throw them. Like the first play of the game, we throw a hitch to Julio and the guy's jumping all over it but if we had run a nine first, he wouldn't have been up there so close.
When people play middle-of-the-field coverage that means when there's nobody behind the corners. Split safeties means the corners are up and there's somebody behind them. If you're going to play with that, live and die with that all the time, you have got to put some pressure on the corners and make them cover you. There were a lot of check-with-me's today. I think a lot of the deep passes were called, but there were a lot of check-with-me's today."
Junior quarterback Greg McElroy
On being efficient in the passing game:
"Being efficient is the best compliment you can have as a quarterback. The more you take what they give you, the more efficient you become. That's a tribute to the play calling and your decision making. Really, that's the best compliment you can give me, to call me an efficient passer. Obviously, I want to be an explosive passer, and they described Ryan Mallett as such but our defense showed how committed we are. They really played their assignments and when they do that we can really shut down an explosive offense like that. A lot of credit is due to the defense. We struggled at first and they kept us in it. I'm so proud of the team, defense and the coaches. This is a great victory for us as a team."
Junior linebacker Rolando McClain
On holding the Arkansas offense to seven points:
"I attribute that to hard work. We worked real hard in practice this week trying to understand their offense. We knew they had a finesse offense and we just tried to mess up some of their routes. We wanted to mess up their timing and get to their quarterback. I think our defense did a pretty good job. They had a good offense but we also had a pretty good defensive team. Like I said, at the Florida game, they had to stop us from doing what we do. They are a good offense and it was a good game. We are proud of the victory but we know we have to get better."
On Alabama having a complete defensive effort:
"Our defensive line did a great job applying pressure. There were a couple times where he (Mallet) had time to throw the ball, that's when he completed passes but for the most part we had good pressure. Our defensive backs had to cover a lot. We knew the ball was going to come out fast because we were giving pressure. We played tremendous. We didn't give up a deep ball I don't think. That's very good as a defense."
Senior linebacker Eryk Anders
On shutting down the Arkansas passing attack:
"We did what we said we were going to do. We pressured the quarterback, stopped the run and didn't allow too many deep throws. For the most part we kept the pressure on and kept them guessing."
On executing the game plan:
"We knew that we were going to have to tackle and not allow the up and under game. We certainly put the pressure on the quarterback and hit him quite a bit."
Sophomore running back Mark Ingram
On the play of the running backs:
"I thought we did a decent job today. We weren't always clicking early but we came together and seemed to be one block away from breaking one. The receivers stepped up and made some big plays for us and made some big blocks as well."
On the start of the game and the importance of field position:
"Every play counts, every yard counts in SEC play. In the start of the game we were just going back and forth, battling for field position. The defense made some big plays and got us some good field position and we were able to capitalize on it. Trent made a big run that kicked things off for us."
Sophomore defensive lineman Marcell Dareus:
On getting pressure on the quarterback:
"We worked on it all week. We had to get to the quarterback and throw off their game. It was important for us to stop the screens and get after it. We did a good job in getting to the quarterback and making him roll out of the pocket and feel uncomfortable."
On the development of the defense:
"I know last year we sometimes didn't get to the quarterback like we wanted to so we have worked really hard on that at practice. We are just trying to continue to get better and stop the run and help the defense backs out in getting to the quarterback."
Sophomore wide receiver Marquis Maze
On the passing game:
"The passing game has been going great. We have guys who are hounding for the ball. Greg (McElroy) has done a great job on finding the open guy and making plays."
On the running game opening things up for the passing game:
"The backs are really giving us an opportunity to make plays. It has really opened up the play action and Greg has made great plays throwing the ball downfield and finding the open receiver."
Head Coach Bobby Petrino
"I am disappointed in our performance. Alabama is a good football team and they do a lot of real good things. They've got good players and they're very, very well coached, but I am disappointed in the way we played and in our execution. Really where that shows up is that we didn't really believe that we could come in and win the game. When you don't believe you can come in and win the game you drop passes, you don't do the things you've been coached to do, you don't do the things you normally do and you don't set your feet and throw the ball with conviction. I really thought in the first half our defense played well. They did a nice job of stopping the run. They did a nice job of tackling, except for the long run, and that was a heck of run. I just thought we didn't play the way we're capable of playing. That's on me. I didn't get them to believe we could come in here and win the game. I've been around it and seen it before, and when you don't do that and utilize your technique, you do different things in the game. We have a lot of work to do to get to be the type of football team that we need to be."
On scoring the touchdown to pull within seven points only to have Alabama score on the next offensive play:
"I didn't think it deflated us, but it was a great call and a well-executed play. Rudell (Crim) was right there he just didn't get his hands in between the guy's (Marquis Maze's) hands. We've got to be able to answer. That's the thing that we didn't do that we did a week ago is answer when other people score. That's up to the offense to answer back and get it back to 21-14."
On the play of quarterback Ryan Mallett:
"I didn't think he played very well. He didn't set his feet. He didn't see things see things like he saw in the previous two games. You can't take anything away from their defense, because they are very good. They do a nice job of disguising and hitting the blitzes when they're supposed to, but he's very capable of playing a lot better than that."
On making mistakes in all three phases of the game - offense, defense and special teams:
"I was disappointed. We're capable of playing better than that, but we also played a good football team."
On preparing for the Wildcat formation and seeing Julio Jones' touchdown reception:
"We worked hard on the Wildcat. We had certain things that we were going to get to when they did it. They made a nice play. It wasn't a great throw. We could have had better effort and got there and knocked it down. That is kind of an effort play. We didn't have good enough effort on the play."
QB Ryan Mallett
On how the offense performed today:
"We just didn't execute. That hurt us and you can see that throughout the whole game. We have to execute."
On why Alabama's defense is so tough to play against:
"They didn't confuse us, but they brought pressure. They brought some pressures that we hadn't seen. We need to go look at that on film and see what we did wrong."
On how the pressure by Alabama's defense affected him:
"It didn't really at all. They might have flushed me out of the pocket a couple of times, but that's it."
On if the wet conditions impacted his performance today:
"No, it was just a lack of execution by me and my receivers."
On how they regroup:
"It's a football season, so we are going to go to work every week. We have to get ready to get a win and that is what we will do starting tomorrow."
On how the offense felt going into the second half:
"We felt good. We came out and scored a touchdown to make it 14-7, but we just lost it. We came out playing good in the second half and just didn't keep it up."
On what head coach Bobby Petrino told the team at halftime:
"He told us that we were in the game. There was no doubt about that. All we needed to do was execute. If we would have executed, we would have been in the game longer. Alabama is a great team. Their defense is really good and they can run the football, but what we have to do is execute."
On if his struggles today surprised him:
"They played great defense and we didn't execute. That's all it's about. I'm going to keep telling you that we have to execute."
On what it means to execute:
"It's everything. Throwing the ball the right way, setting my feet, catching the football, running the football, getting off blocks, it's everything. The offense has to get better all around to execute better."
On if his confidence is hurt after a game like this:
"No. I'm going to keep it up and the rest of the team is the same way. We didn't play well. We know that and we are going to come back ready to play next week."
Senior defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard
On lack of confidence facing No. 3 Alabama on the road:
"I think we lacked the confidence to get out there and face them in away territory with that crowd. I think we lacked confidence, but there is nothing we can do about it now to take it back."
On playing better defensively this week, opposed to last week against Georgia:
"At least in the first half we attacked some of the areas we were weak in last week. I still feel that we have a lot of things to work on. It was very disappointing. This game was very disappointing to all of us."
On responding next week against Texas A&M:
"I think we'll respond well. There's nothing we can do about this game now. You have games like this that you have so many high hopes for and then it goes that way. There is nothing you can do, but stay positive and get ready for the next game."
On how much Alabama's two big touchdown plays hurt in the first half:
"It hurts when you look up and see the ball is thrown over your head and it goes for a touchdown. It hits you in your stomach and the thing is, there is nothing you can do about it. You just have to show your true character and move on from it and fight back."