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Post-Game Quotes



Nov. 15, 2008

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Head Coach Nick Saban Post-game quotes
Opening Statement:
"I'm really pleased and happy with the way our team came out and played in the second half. I think that special teams, probably as much as any game this year, had a tremendous impact on the field position in this game with certainly Javier Arenas and his returning, but also a good job by the return teams and that had a big impact on the game. They set up a score, scored and blocked a punt for a safety, but even more important than that, the specialists did a good job of controlling the vertical field position. Leigh (Tiffin) did a good job of kicking off, and that drive-start was very important in field position. I think special teams was a real key in the game. In the first half we didn't play especially well. We made some mental errors on defense that were very costly in terms of their scoring drive. That's not like us. I thought we had a lot of energy and intensity, but we didn't play very smart. Offensively, their defense is very good, and we didn't move the ball and sustain drives effectively at all, but did a much better job in the second half and kind of controlled the game. I think Javy's (Arenas) second return that made it 19-7 probably changed the momentum as much as anything, and we pretty much controlled the game after that."

On starters playing on special teams:
 "We try to only play a starter on one team. Rolando (McClain) plays on the punt team along with Nick Walker, and the punt team is probably the most important team because protection and coverage are so important. Rashad (Johnson) plays gunner on punt coverage, and he's great. He would be the best special teams player on our whole team if we would play him on special teams. If you're a starter though, you only play on one."

P.J. Fitzgerald and his improvement in the punt game:
"He's done a really good job all year long. He's been much more consistent this year. He's added a little distance and a little hang time. He was outstanding tonight, had great punts with good hang time, and they had very little return yardage. He has done a really good job consistency wise all year long."

Senior Defensive Back Rashad Johnson
On the defensive play:
"We came in and knew we had to stop the run. We did a good job of stopping the run and forcing them to pass. We got them off the field after third down."

On the boost from the special teams:
"Coach always talks about the three phases of the game and we needed to win the special teams phase to be successful tonight. We were able to do a good job at all aspects of special teams and that gave us a big boost."

Junior Defensive Back Javier Arenas
On the return for a touchdown:
"The wall was there. My teammates set up it up nicely. The blocks were there and all I had to do was run. I was able to get comfortable back there and relax and use the blocks that were there for me."

On how the special teams worked as a whole:
"We had people prove tonight the importance of the special teams. We were able to put together some nice returns and that kept us in the game tonight."

Junior Center Antoine Caldwell
On establishing the run:
 "We know that establishing the run is an important part of our game and has been a big part of what we have done all season. Especially in the second half when we needed to use the clock we put it on our shoulders to finish the game."

On the play of the running backs:
"It makes our job so much easier when you have backs like Mark (Ingram) and Glen (Coffee) who can stick it in there and wear down the defense. They did a great job tonight."


Head Coach Sylvester Croom
"I want to congratulate Coach Saban and the Alabama team. They're undefeated, and we wish them luck the rest of the season. We gave up 16 points in the kicking game, and that's pretty much the ball game."

On Alabama's defensive front in the first half:
"The defensive front played very, very strongly and something we wanted to do was move the football and buy some time to give our defense a chance to rest. When you give up the points that we gave up in the kicking game, it puts a lot of pressure on our team. We can't give those guys points. You can't give them anything."

On the switches on the offensive line:
"We put out the five best offensive linemen we have. That's the best five we got."

On Jessie Bowman's injury:
"Jessie Bowman has a torn tendon, and my guess is he's done this season. They are going to have to operate. That's as much as I know right now."

On the substitution of Wesley Carroll at quarterback:
"We wanted to run the option, and we got a nice gain on the first one. They made some adjustments and things and the clock got us to where we had to throw the ball. We will play Wes (Wesley Carroll) some when we want to run the option. Tyson is ok on it, but Wes is better. We wanted to get our option game in there to try to counter some of their blitzes. If we would have had more time we had a couple other ones that we were going to try, but we just had to move the football."

Defensive End Tim Bailey
"In the first half, we did a pretty good job on them.  I think they kind of lit up in the second half a little bit.  I think our Achilles heel was in the special teams and that definitely determined the outcome of the game."

On the mindset of the team after suffering their seventh loss:
"I'm quite sure everybody is disappointed, but I think this team has pride.  We played our butts off tonight but we made some critical errors, especially in the special teams"

Quarterback Tyson Lee
"I don't know about any one or two plays, I know a couple of times on third down we couldn't execute and allowed them to stay on the field.  You have to make those plays, not only on third but on first and second down in order to give the defense a rest but also to maybe make some points."

On whether or not they felt any pressure after scoring:
"As far as pressure, I would say there was any pressure, but it makes it hard on the team.  When you can't stay on the field and when you go three and out and can't move the ball, it can hurt you.  We had times tonight where we moved the ball and were efficient in the way we did it, but there were also times where we didn't stay on the field and do what we needed to do."

On the play of Javier Arenas:
"Javier Arenas is a playmaker and everyone in the country knows that.  We knew that coming into the game and he made some big plays tonight.  When those things happen, we have to realize we have to go back on offense and make plays to counter what they do.  You can't take anything away from a playmaker and he did that tonight."

Linebacker Dominic Douglas
On the overview of the game:
"We didn't execute tonight, especially on special teams. They ran one back on special teams and scored on offense. There were a lot of miscues and we just didn't execute tonight."

On struggling in the second half:
"We couldn't get anything started, passing or running, offense or defense. We tried our best to stop them, but they kept kicking field goals that added to the score. We have to play better than we have been playing, and that is the bottom line.

On the gameplan coming into the game:
"We knew we had to step it up. They have a lot of powerful running backs, so we knew we had to step up. Personally, I think we did a pretty good job tonight. I think they had one break out run for about 40 or 50 yards, but other than that I think we did pretty good. Passing, we probably gave up 2 or 3 big passes. All around we did good, but we still have to help the offense out."