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Alabama Football vs. Georgia Southern - Postgame Quotes



Nov. 19, 2011

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Head Coach Nick Saban
Opening statement:
“In my opinion that was a good win for us. That’s a good little team we played out there today. When I say little team, I don’t mean literally. Those guys played hard and played with a lot of toughness. They really did a good job of running their offense. It’s a tough offense to get prepared for. It’s totally different than what we do all the time. We obviously didn’t execute the way we wanted to on defense all the time. We did a better job in the second half. That was really important. I think it was really important that our offense did a fantastic job of controlling the ball. They were always able to answer the bell and do a really a good job of not allowing them to have the ball. The time of possession was really good for us. I was really pleased with the way we competed. We played a lot better in the second half than we did the first. We did a good job on third down to keep the drives going. We always answered when we needed to. I was very disappointed on the kick-off return. We had good kick-off coverage until that one. We had a guy miss a tackle and a couple guys dodge a block the wrong way. The safeties were not in a good position. It was not very good execution. I think we are all responsible in terms of the way this team’s able to run the ball against us. We had a lot of guys hurt up front. We were down to about three or four defensive lineman toward the end of the game. We did get a chance to play a few other guys on defense. This is a tough team. They are a good team. They are very good at what they do. It’s a tremendous advantage for them when you only have a few days to prepare for something that they do extremely well. I thought our players adapted and adjusted and did a good job in the second half. Even though I thought the scout team did a really good job giving us a look at this, it happens a lot faster than what you see in practice. The ball gets on the perimeter quicker.  The lead blockers get out there faster. The big problem was that we didn’t have support and we got chopped a lot. It’s a good win for us. I’m really proud of the seniors. I’m glad that we could go out there and get a win for them.  Georgia Southern is 9-1 for a reason. They really should be 10-0. They are one of the better top couple teams in their division. They run an offense that is very difficult to defend, especially when we don’t play against them a lot. Our offensive line did a good job and Trent Richardson did a really good job of running the ball. AJ McCarron played extremely well for us. This has been a tough week for us from a defensive standpoint and I’m glad it’s over.”
Coach Nick Saban
On the offense and maintaining a lead throughout the game:
“Well, they never changed. I was hoping that they would get in the gun and pass the ball, like they did against other teams, but they did that very little. I was hopeful that when we got ahead that they would start doing that, which is a little more into what we could defend a little better, what we were used to, and have some opportunity to maybe give them more negative plays that way, but they stayed right there and kept running the option and it was successful for them, and they checked about every play based on what we were doing. I still think that when it comes right down to it, and I still think when we look at the film, it’s going to be about playing the blockers. I tried to convince our players that you have got to play the blockers. You have to strike the blockers upfront, and I think that we were soft at times, and I think guys were worried about reading, whether I have to close for the dive or if the guy is arching me, so I’m supposed to play the quarterback. We were probably too aggressive on the quarterback at times, and that made the ball get pitched, and there was nobody out in the alley – and that is where they make most of their big plays. There was nothing about what our players did this week, they worked, they respected this, and they worked hard to try and get this stuff right. It’s just difficult to defend, especially when you don’t play against it much.”   
On defensive lineman Brandon Ivory’s play today:
“Brandon Ivory did a good job, I mean really. Sometimes, you get snake bit at a position. Josh Chapman has been playing all year long with a bad knee, and doctors felt like we needed to shut him down, and try to give him some time to heal up, which we did. So that decision got made right after the last game, and he was not going to play in this game. Then, for violation of team rules and policies, we suspend a guy. Then, Brandon Ivory misses two days of practice this week, because he twisted his knee in practice, he was the next guy to go in. So we moved Jesse [Williams] to nose guard, which he did a really good job, he gets food poisoning and gets sick last night and is up all night. We moved [Undra] Billingsley in there, who we practiced some at nose guard just for emergency situations, but he does a pretty good job when he plays three and five technique, because that is what he plays all the time, and in this kind of offense, the way they are coming off the ball low and scramble blocking you all the time, you need to have some guys in there. And when Jesse is playing nose, he is not playing five technique, so we got a different guy playing five technique. [Damion] Square was really the only guy that was playing at the position that he plays.”
On Quarterback Jaybo Shaw’s touchdown pass:
“Do you want me to explain it all to you, about this offense and how you got to squirm the coverages and all that kind of stuff, I mean nobody is going to understand it. The guy arches to block the corner, so on the motion, you squirm to three corner on both sides. Then, on the diagonal takeoff, the guy that is coming out there blocking you every time as a corner, you have to figure out that he is not blocking me this time and he is running a diagonal takeoff. Dre [Kirkpatrick] came, he ran a diagonal takeoff and went right by him, Mark is supposed to be rolling over in a deep third and he fell down. So, that is what happened – and I hope we don’t see that play again.”
On Georgia Southern’s fourth down conversion success:
“Well, it was fourth and inches, fourth and one, and when you play this offense you know that if it’s third down and six or less, they’re playing the game to go for it on fourth down. They are going to try to gain three or four yards on third down, and it is going to make it fourth and one or fourth and two and they are going to go for it on fourth down – I mean they went for it in bad field position too, but it was fourth and one. So you have got to make a decision, do we want to play the kind of defense where we can stop the quarterback sneak on. But if they didn’t run the quarterback sneak, then they get a big play, because you are going to minimize the number of players you are going to have on the perimeter. So we tried not to do that and they ran a couple of quarterback sneaks and made first downs. The key is giving this offense negative plays and we gave them negative plays and they got behind in the down and distance, that’s when we stopped them every time. When we didn’t do that, we could not create the situations where it wasn’t a four down situation, where they have to gain two and a half yards, and they do a good job.”
#3 Trent Richardson, Running Back
 On breaking the record for single season rushing touchdowns:
“It means a lot.  I didn’t even know I did, but they told me I did.  I talk to Shaun (Alexander) all the time; he’s like a big brother to me.  Records are meant to be broken.  I broke the record today and I’m happy.  As a team—I never say “I,” but as a team, we did break that record today.”
#17 Brad Smelley, Tight End
On the feeling of his Senior Day performance:
“It feels great.  Most importantly, it feels just great to come out with these seniors and just play a great game and finish off our careers here at Bryant-Denny Stadium how we wanted to.”
On getting two touchdowns today:
“That was special.  To get one late in the game like that, that was just a bonus.  It’s pretty exciting for me.  It takes everybody to execute, and I felt like we executed really well tonight.”
#4 Mark Barron, Defensive Back
On the challenge of not seeing the offense before:
“First off I want to salute those guys. They came out and played a great game. It basically just came down to us staying disciplined throughout the game. We had trouble with that at times, but for the most part we did okay with it.”
On the preparation for Auburn:
“Preparing for that team is always tough. They have a lot of things going on with that offense, so we have to make sure we come in and have a good week of preparation next week.”
#30 Dont’a Hightower, Linebacker
On the challenge of not seeing this offense before:
“It was definitely a different offense. We don’t see the triple option very much. They are a really good team who is very good at what they do. We had to come back to the sideline and make a couple of adjustments that we haven’t had to in the past, but Coach Smart always pulls out something good, and he did that tonight.”
On next week’s game:
“We are looking forward to Auburn. It is something that we have had on our minds since the season started. We are really ready for these guys, and we know they will be ready for us.”

Head Coach Jeff Monken
Opening statement:
“I’m disappointed we lost the football game. I’m never going to be happy when we lose but I’m proud of our team and how hard they fought today. I thought our kids put forth a tremendous effort against one of the best football teams in the country, maybe the best in the country. They’re an extremely well- coached football team. I admire Coach Saban and his staff so much. They coach their kids hard. You can see it on the field and in the way that they play. They’re a great football team and we played them tough. We just made some mistakes that cost us the opportunity to be in the game. We hoped we could be in there towards the end and have a chance to win the game.
On the blocked field goal:
“It was such a disappointment. We haven’t had that happen all year. We haven’t missed a field goal or an extra point all year. We just let a guy leak through the line. Every other kick we had today was just fine. On that play, we just had a guy let off his guard. Maybe he didn’t realize how fast or strong they were going to rush. I don’t know. I can only speculate because I haven’t seen the film. That’s a 10-point swing right there though. That’s seven for them and three less for us. Instead of it being a 3-3 tie, it became 10-0.”
On their second-half performance:
“We were able to get the ball back at halftime. We had an opportunity to score and get back into the football game. We just made too many mistakes. The touchdown they got heading towards their locker room on the long pass to Brad Smelley was one of them. We turned them scot-free. We were supposed to play man to man. We ran a blitz and we had a guy playing zone coverage in the middle of the field. Their guy ran a long crossing route. We had a chance to sack him or make him throw the ball away. Just things like that. We can’t make mistakes against a great football team like that. I’m proud of our kids though. They put forth so much effort today.
On being able to run the ball against Alabama:
“They say statistics are for loser. We can look at those things and think of it as a moral victory. Bottom line is though we didn’t win the football. Our kids played as hard as they could. They played with so much effort, and I’m proud of our guys for running the ball like that. They were holding people to under 52 yards a game I believe. We were able to run the ball with effectiveness. We had chances on offense to capitalize. We were moving the football very well. We’ll learn from it. We’ll have an opportunity to watch the tape, see some of the good things we did, and improve for the next game.”
#31, Dominque Swope, B-Back
On his 150 rushing yards:
“I’m very happy about the way we performed. We played a great game and my line did great.  Alabama’s one of the best teams in the nation and I’m just happy we had the opportunity to face them.
On how Georgia Southern was able to gain so many yards:
“I’d have to say it was the press from our linemen. We had a lot of misdirection plays that we kept on executing and it worked for us.
#23 Jonathan Bryant, A-BACK
On his assessment of the Georgia Southern’s performance:
“It was an exciting game. You know, anytime you play (in front of) a crowd that big it’s going to be exciting. I haven’t been in a stadium that big since my high school years in the Georgia Dome. It was really exciting to play on that field, and we just wanted to go out and give the best we could.”
On his touchdown reception:
“It was really exciting. When I got in the endzone, I kind of wanted to celebrate a little bit, but I got to give credit to my team. (Quarterback) Jaybo (Shaw) made a great pass. The receiver ran a great route, and the safety, he had fell down. So I knew it was going to be a touchdown. When I looked back, Jaybo had the ball in the air. So it was a real good feeling, and the crowd got a little bit hyped, so I feel good about it.”