Nov. 1, 2008
Recap | Box Score | Notes | Photo Gallery
Head Coach Nick Saban
"I'm pleased with the way our guys rounded out today. I think the question for us in this game was, `Do you have more to give?' We need to improve as a team, and we want to play to our capacity. You simply ask yourself; whether you're a player or a coach, `Did I do that?', and what we're attempting to develop is an elite attitude with high expectations of what you expect to do every time you go out there and play. Tiger Woods, when he's asked he says, `You've never arrived,' and, if you have that kind of attitude where you're always trying to get better, you're always trying to improve working toward expectations, and the choices you make are very important to being able to do that. It's obviously great for your defense any time that you can shut them out. I think it says a lot about Kirby (Smart) and Kevin (Steele) and the entire defensive staff and the job that they did in terms of this zone offense, because they were a pretty good offensive football team with a pretty good quarterback. Offensively, we certainly moved the ball. We probably didn't pass it as well as we'd like at times; we made some plays in the passing game, but we didn't have the consistency and didn't seem to be in sync like we'd like to be and like we have been. We need to continue to work and develop that. Glen (Coffee) got a bruise on his bicep, but I think he'll be just fine. Mark (Ingram) bruised his knee on his last run, but no real issue or problem. I don't think either one of those guys will be an issue heading into the first part of the week."
About the defense on Rashad Johnson's interception return for a touchdown:
"We blitzed. They were in four wideouts. They used `scan' protection, where the back goes from one side to the other so they couldn't block both of our guys off the edge. They didn't block 26 (Ali Sharrief) so the quarterback had to throw the ball hot. He threw it high because we pushed the pocket pretty good and Rashad had good coverage on him. He made a good play and a really good run. That was a big play in the game because we were struggling a little bit there at the time only leading 7-0, so it worked out well for us."
On creating a pass rush against a mobile quarterback:
"We did (create pressure). I think a lot of those circumstances came where we created five-on-five blocking situations where their five guys had to block our five guys. Sometimes we ran games and twists. They couldn't help each other. When the center helps one way or another and knocks the tackle out, that's what creates a lane for the quarterback when he steps up in the pocket. That's what happened on the first one when he ran for a first down, but after that I thought the guys did a really good job. The key to it is creating those situations by playing good on first and second down. They were two-for-12 on third down, which is pretty good and we stopped them on fourth down a couple of times."
Safety Rashad Johnson
On getting an interception and returning it for a touchdown:
"It was a good play call. The coaches decided to bring pressure and keep the guy in the pocket because we knew he was a shorter guy and couldn't see over the linemen. I did a good job with my technique. I saw the ball and just put my hands up and got it. When I got it, I was determined to get in the end zone."
On playing well on homecoming his senior year:
"It was very exciting. It was my last Homecoming. I just wanted to come out and give it everything and play all out. I didn't want to have thoughts about what if. That's what I did. I had a great game and now it's time to focus it back in. We have a big one coming up this week (LSU game). I think we are all going to be ready to play this Saturday."
On back-to-back games where other team didn't have more than 170 yards total offense:
"We've been doing a great job all year. It's been a lot of focus everyday at practice about doing the little things right and I think it's carrying over to the games. We are doing a great job of communicating and when the ball turns over everyone is on the same page and that' s the most important thing for us."
Quarterback John Parker Wilson
On Rashad getting an interception and returning it for a touchdown:
"A pick six stimulates the whole thing. To score and then with them playing like they were, they didn't give up any big plays or any long runs. It's comforting to know our defense is playing like that."
On Mark Ingram:
"He's a great runner and a really smart kid. He understands the game really well. He doesn't let anything get to him. For the next three years he is going to be great."
On not looking ahead to LSU:
"We knew it was a big game coming in. We hadn't looked or talked about LSU at all. Now we can. We have this win and it's a good one. Now we can go work and get ready for those guys. "
Defensive End Bobby Greenwood
On getting pressure on the quarterback:
"They had a great quarterback that was really fast that got out on us a couple times but the defensive line as a whole did a great job containing him and filled up all the passing lanes."
On game planning against a scrambling quarterback:
"We just had to focus to stay in our gaps and not give him a lane to run. That was our main focus - to keep him from running."
On the collective effort of the defensive line:
"All four of us were able to step up today. I was able to get a big sack because (Brandon) Deaderick came around the edge and made him step up right to me. It was definitely a team effort with all the guys working together."
Tight End Travis McCall
On the success of the running game:
"They had a pretty good defensive front. They tried to slant towards Andre (Smith) a bit but we were able to get around that. Running the ball has been a focus for us all season long and we were able to build off of that."
On getting involved in the passing game:
"We had some good looks today. Everyone got a chance to get their touches. Spreading the ball came naturally for us out there today."
Defensive Back Kareem Jackson
On the focus of the defense:
"Our main focus coming in was stopping the run and keeping the quarterback from scrambling and keeping him in the pocket. We did an excellent job with that today. We knew we could cover them, we just had to account for the running ability of the quarterback."
On the play of the defensive backs:
"We got a lot of pressure on them up front, so if they wanted to throw they had to do it quickly. We played a lot of man and were able to bring a lot of pressure so that helped us out a lot."
Arkansas State Quotes
Head Coach Steve Roberts
"They are a fantastic football team. We knew that from film study of all their games this year. They played very well. I am proud of the effort from out football team. I thought we did some things to make them adjust on both sides of the ball, really all three sides of the ball. We did some good things, we just didn't do enough of them, and they showed why they are the No. 2 team in the country. They are a very, very powerful and very physical football team."
On any similarities between playing in Austin, Texas this year and playing in Tuscaloosa this year:
"There are a lot of similarities. Both are tremendous environments and great crowds. The people are extremely passionate about the success of their football team. As far as comparisons, I won't get into comparisons of the football teams, but they are both very good teams."
On the quick scoring drive by Alabama to open the second half and why that was the turning point:
"They got the ball and went right down the field in the second half. We didn't start off the way we wanted to in the second half. They were controlling the game defensively up until that point and we were playing pretty well defensively. We started the ballgame off giving up a 90-yard drive, and we played them much better defensively after that. Offensively, we were able to have a few positive plays, but not a positive series."
On not being able to stop Alabama on third down in critical situations:
"They are a good football team. They have playmakers at every position. They have great playmakers coming out of the backfield and at wide receiver. The quarterback is a veteran who knows how to take advantage of things when he sees them and makes good throws."
On the play of Alabama's defense:
"They are good, real good. They are pretty physical. When they wanted to from a pressure standpoint, they dialed it up. We just didn't have an answer to protect and get the ball out quick enough."
On getting back into conference play:
"We can take some positive things from this ballgame after we get back and look at the film.
The bottom line is every one of our players has the goal of winning a conference championship. I feel like that is still intact. We have to prove that next Saturday in Miami."
On the experience gained from playing at Alabama:
"We have played at a lot of places like this. Obviously this is a special place with tradition and history of college football. It's a great place to play a game."
Quarterback Corey Leonard
Not capitalizing on the momentum:
"They are a real good football team. They're front four are real good and fast. When we would put one or two players together, when it came to a big first down or something like that, they really would come after us and overpower us a lot of the times. You've got to give them credit; you can tell why they are No. 2 in the country. They don't make many mistakes.
If we were going to make a game out of it, we needed to jump on them early in the first half. We were doing a lot of things where they were confused on how they should line up and we got some momentum going and didn't capitalize on it when we needed to."
Long third downs:
"Third and long, we were kind of giving them the green light to do some things they have fun with. Like I said, we're not a football team that can handle that right now. We're a good football team, but they're a great football team and that's why they have that ranking. We've got to keep ourselves out of those kinds of situations, and today we weren't able to do that."
Interception to Rashad Johnson:
"It started off with the pressure, they brought everybody. We had a slide protection on and they got a little too much pressure and I had to get rid of the ball early. He made a great move on the ball. Again, they just cause problems as a defense and that was one of those times where you can't say he (the receiver) was wrong or I was wrong, it was just good by them."
Linebacker Ben Owens
Finding openings in the defense:
"Basically they just came out and ran the football right at us. It wasn't a particular alignment or a particular error on anybody's part on defense, they just decided to run and run until they found an opening in the gaps or by chance, the running backs would cut it back to the open side.
Physicality of offensive line:
"They were very physical. We knew they were going to come in and their O Line was going to get up to the linebackers and the second level. It was just a matter of us getting off blocks and breaking away from blocks, and it's something that we did off and on throughout the game but we have to do it every play."
Third and long situations:
"Third and long was very frustrating. Anytime you get a team third and long you want to blitz and try to change things up. That's what we did and they just managed to converge quite a bit on us and it was very demoralizing."