Alabama Football vs. Mississippi Postgame Quotes
Sept. 30, 2012
Head Coach Nick Saban
"It was a hard fought win for us, and we are certainly happy for our team to be able to get a win. I don't think the people give Ole Miss enough credit. They are really playing well. They play hard. They are very physical, a complete turnaround. Their offense is difficult to defend with the no huddle situation and the perimeter speed that they have. We knew this would be a tough game.
"There are definitely some things we need to do better. At times, the red zone scoring in the last couple of weeks, we've settled for too many field goals too many times. That's something we probably need to improve on and use this bye week to improve on and just our overall passing game, maybe being more explosive. We really had high hopes that Amari Cooper would one day sort of find himself and do the things like he does in practice all the time in the game. I think that happened today. He played very well. That's a guy that can be an explosive player for us and help us out down the road.
"Defensively, we were in some tough spots out there. It was really difficult to sub players. At times, I think we got tired on the longer drives when we couldn't sub players because if they don't sub, you really can't sub because when they snap it quick, you aren't ready. We weren't ready to play when they hit the first big touchdown on their first drive. Guys were still looking at the bench trying to get a signal. We got better as coaches as the game went on. I think the players got used to the pace of the game as it went on, and I think we played a little better. We really didn't get accomplished in the second half what we would have liked to get accomplished in terms of getting control of the game because we went three-and-out. We got the stops on defense but then went three-and-out and never really put a drive together and kicked two field goals. We need to do a little bit better job of finishing games as well.
"You have to give Ole Miss a lot of credit. They played hard and with a lot of toughness. We had a lot of respect for their team coming into this, but nobody really listens to me until after the fact, and they say, `Yeah, you were right.'
"We did have some guys that got injured today. DeAndrew White has a knee injury that will be evaluated tomorrow. He was really playing well for us on special teams and really playing his position well offensively. Dee Hart has a possible knee injury that will be evaluated tomorrow. Deion Belue hurt his shoulder and never returned to the game. I don't think that's serious. It's a week or two type deal. He's hurting right now, but I don't really feel like it's something that's going to keep him out for a long time."
On AJ McCarron breaking the pass attempts without an interception streak and what he is doing:
"I think he's taking what the defense gives him, and I think he is reading what he is supposed to read. He almost got one picked off in the red zone. I think he kind of misread it a little bit and got stuck. They played zone, and when people play zone down there on the 10-yard line, there are not many big windows to throw the ball down the field. He has done a good job of taking care of the ball, reading things and throwing [the ball] in the right places. We are really pleased with his development. Hopefully he will be able to continue to play that way in the future."
On if the team took a step forward or a step backwards in `The Process':
"What I told the team yesterday was most people get motivated when something bad happens. They have a disappointment or they feel some kind of pain, and then all of the sudden they want to change or do things better, practice better, work harder and change whatever and listen to what the coaches say and all those kind of things. We don't have that kind of circumstance. We actually need to develop the right habits, the right characteristics of what we do and how we do it, so that we can improve and get better without having to go through something bad happening. So, the challenge is to play at a high-standard and to prepare at a high standard, to motivate yourself at a high standard all the time, so that you don't get bad consequences. That's a difficult thing to do because I think it's kind of fighting human-nature a little bit. People get satisfied to easily. When we lost to LSU last year, that was a big motivating factor to finish the season and probably a big motivating factor in winning the next game that we played. We don't have that right now. Are we going to be a team that can show enough character to not have that to happen before we continue to work and improve and have the leadership and do the things we need to do so we don't sit around and say, `We started dreaming about the possibilities of what we could of done, if we would have done it right or if we would have prepared better.' The solution is pretty obvious. Do it right to start with, and prepare the right way. This was a difficult preparation though. It's like when we played Auburn when [Gus] Malzhan was there. It's difficult to get the defense ready. It's difficult to get them to understand the pace of the game. They're defense really played hard, did a lot of stunting and blitzing, moving. They are quick. They affected our running game a little bit."
On the turnovers in the first half:
"I think that was the turning point in the game. We really only put one true drive together. Those turnovers were really the difference in the game. The game was 7-6, and then we got the turnovers, and we got a little lead. Turnovers are always that way. We turned it over once. Robert (Lester) turned it over, when they overturned the out-of-bounds thing. I could never really see what happened on that play or why it was overturned. There was no clear view on our little screen that we saw. Obviously they saw something, but we stopped them and intercepted them again. We finished those drives when we got the interception, so that was a good thing. We are going to have to continue to get turnovers, and we are going to have to finish more drives if we are actually going to be the team we want to be."
# 28 Dee Milliner, Defensive Back
On the defensive performance:
"We came out, and we executed the game plan that coach wanted for us. They played well. There were some things we could have capitalized on that we didn't. We still have got to get better. We've got to watch film and try to re-group."
On the secondary's performance:
"We played a good game today; we knew they were going to throw the ball up a lot, and we just had to make plays while the ball was in the air."
# 10 AJ McCarron, Quarterback
On the passing game:
"We had the injury bug early, but we had some young guys step up and made some plays. We are still not where we need to be, but everyone will keep working. We definitely have got to get better on this off week and keep working from there."
On Amari Cooper's performance:
"Coop did an excellent job for us running the right routes and being on time. We had good chemistry the whole night, so we definitely were good in that area. We had some other guys that stepped up and made plays for us, but like I said, we have got to keep getting better as a whole."
#22 Christion Jones, Wide Receiver
On what it was like to get into the end zone:
"The kick was pretty different. The way he kicked it, it was kind of squibbish, but I think our kickoff return team did a heck of a job blocking up front. I think we did a great job standing and doing our assignments. We were trying to get one real bad, and we finally got one when the team focused in on it, and we finally got one return back, so I thank them for the blocks they did."
#42 Adrian Hubbard, Linebacker
On the defense's play:
"We just play our roles and do what we're told and like I said everyone has to do their assigned man and when everybody does their assigned man people are able to make plays."
On his expanded role:
"When you get your chance you have to try and take advantage and that goes for everyone on the team. All I am trying to do is help the team any way I can and make plays for my teammates."
Head Coach Hugh Freeze
"I couldn't be more proud of the effort from our kids. I told them that in the locker room. They laid it on the line against a very talented team, a very physical football team. We were short-handed at some spots and I couldn't be more pleased from the effort that was given from our young men tonight that represented Rebel nation and our great university very well. The disappointing thing was that we didn't do some of the little things to get our kids to have a chance later in the game. Our special teams were atrocious and we turned the football over over us being greedy and we didn't have a good third down plan on defense. We've got to go evaluate all of that because our kids deserved a little better outcome tonight from the way that they played and that's my opinion. It's hard to drive the football on that defense that they have. They're so talented and so physical. We had two really nice drives and just could not stay away from a negative play, whether it be a turnover or something that put us behind the chains where they could pin their ears back and come get us. A lot of effort goes to them. Coach Saban and his staff do a wonderful job and they're very talented. Again, I'm just really pleased with the effort and the fight that our kids showed. "
On how the Ole Miss players feel about the game:
"They feel good. They feel a lot better than I do and they should. They're pleased with the effort that was given. The ones who made mistakes, who turned it over or did certain things, I hope they hurt for their mistakes because we've got to start expecting more of ourselves. Enough has been talked about the past, whatever it was, and it's time for us to start expecting more. In this conference, you can't feel sorry for yourself; you've got to put it behind you and move forward for the next one because we've got a very difficult one next week. But I think our kids are in a positive frame of mind to know that if we could stop doing some of the things we do to ourselves, we would have a chance. I don't know if we'll win the games or not. I haven't promised that in Year 1. I've promised you're going to get great effort. But I know that if we play like that and don't hurt ourselves, we should have some chances later in the game to win it."
On the comparison between this game and the one against Texas two weeks ago:
"It was a lot better tonight, no doubt. Our concentration; our eyes were a lot better, our fits were a lot better, our plan was better. Our defensive staff did a great job with our plan, other than third down, and they'll be the first to tell you that. I'll be the first to tell you we need to do a better job on offense in the first down plan. We've got to stay on schedule against these guys. That's our only chance. But as far as the tackling, I didn't see too many missed tackles. I saw we missed a tackle on the outside on screen out there that we should have gotten. Inside, I'm sure there's going to be some on film that weren't noticeable. We fit it a lot better tonight than we did a couple weeks ago."
On playing three different quarterbacks:
"It depends on the game plan. We had that plan- we wanted to get into that Mackey stuff a little earlier and we thought we had some good stuff. There at the end, we popped a good run with him. With Bo's shoulder, the way it was, we wanted to be careful not to do certain things with him and try and get him totally healthy. That was the reason behind all of them. Barry threw some nice balls there at the end."
On his emotions on the game:
My emotions right now; I'm pleased with the attitude and effort of our kids and how hungry they are to succeed. I'm disappointed because I feel like we should have been in it in the fourth quarter. And for whatever reason, we can go through all of them, we didn't get there. So the next step in this journey is to get there; get in that fourth quarter. I don't know if we'll win it or not, but it sure would feel good to play as a hard they're playing and get in one. When we cut it to two scores, the emotions on our sidelines; you just want it so bad for those kids and those fans and we couldn't get off the field on third down to give us another shot at it."
Back Randall Mackey
On the game being 7-6 then quickly becoming 20-7:
"The mistakes really hurt us tonight, we kind of hurt ourselves really. We were just saying all week long were going to try and hit them in the mouth and fight with them to the end. That's what we did."
"It stuck in our minds a little bit, but now it's over with. We know the mistakes that we made. We're going to try and make sure it doesn't happen again next week."
Bo Wallace, Quarterback
On impact of turnovers:
"They kill you. They put our defense in a bad spot. I don't really have much else to say about it. I just killed my defense."
On impact of Christion Jones' kickoff return:
"There was no panic or anything like that. I just think it hurt our momentum a bit. Offensively, we have to get the score back even when something bad happens like that."