Sept. 12, 2012
Head Coach Nick Saban
"Well it's always exciting to start SEC play. I think our players are looking forward to it, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for Arkansas' team. They are probably one of the best teams in our league, and one of the best teams in the country. We are certainly going to have to play up to our capabilities to have a chance to be successful, especially on the road, so we are looking forward to the challenge we have. It should be an exciting game."
On AJ McCarron's drive for perfection:
"AJ probably is somewhat of a perfectionist, but most good players are because they are never really satisfied with their performance. They know they have never really arrived, and that there is always something that they can do better. I think in our case, AJ is probably pointing to the face that there are things we need to improve on in every aspect of our team, but some things in the passing game we need to do a little better. I think he takes his share of the responsibility for that, whether it's improving his play or helping other people play better, is what he would like to try to do."
On keeping AJ McCarron in the game as long as Coach Saban did on Saturday and why he went with Blake Sims instead of Phillip Ely after McCarron came out:
"We do have a competition at the backup quarterback position, and Blake has been making a lot of progress, doing a good job. We are going to continue to try to develop both of those guys and see which one can help us the best. There was eight or nine minutes to go in the game and we were ahead 28-0 and not really playing real well on offense, and I think that's the reason. We were just trying to get a drive together and get some continuity coming out of the game."
On if defensive linemen are a strong suit for the Southeastern Conference as a whole:
"I think there have been a tremendous amount of defensive linemen in our league. I have always said one of the things that separate our league from others leagues a little bit is the quality of the pass rushers and the athleticism of the upfront people, on defense especially and also sometimes the cover folks. It's really no surprise to me that we have that many players in the NFL. Just in the few years that I have been here, there have been quite a few first round draft picks and some very good players that are dominant defensive lineman."
On different schemes that Coach Saban sees from the Arkansas defense and thoughts on Arkansas' defense giving up over 500 yards offense to Louisiana-Monroe:
"I think that Paul Haynes is a very good defensive coordinator. He had a lot of success at Ohio State and has a good, sound scheme. I think a lot of things happened in last week's game to contribute to a lot of other things that didn't go maybe the way Arkansas would have liked them to. We have a lot of respect for the defense, for their scheme, for their players, and we know that we are going to get a very physical team that is going to play hard, do a good job of executing what they do and we are going to have to do a good job of executing what we do to have any success against them."
On Brandon Allen and expectations from the Arkansas quarterback position as a whole this weekend:
"We really don't know what to expect. I think Brandon Allen, for a guy that hasn't played a lot, did a pretty good job in the game, and I am sure he is going to get better with a week's preparation. If he does have to play in the game, I know they can move other players to quarterback and do different things and they could get their quarterback back, so there are a few unknowns for us in what might happen at that position. We just have to adjust and adapt to whatever it is that we are facing."
On the loss of Jalston Fowler:
"Jalston Fowler was a very good all-around player for us. He did a lot of roles, he was a staple on special teams, as well as playing fullback, playing tailback, and he was a very productive, good player. We are certainly going to miss him, and it's going to take several people to replace him in all the roles that he did a great job for us in."
On if the change at quarterback for Arkansas changes the defensive schemes Coach Saban calls and teaches all week in practice?
"We have a tremendous amount of respect of Arkansas's system and their scheme and the things that they do. They have probably as productive an offense as we play against and most challenging to defend. I think regardless of the mix of the players, you still have to defend the good players that they have and the positions that they put them in and the system and the scheme that they use; I think that is what we are focused on because the rest of it we can't really control. We are going to try to do the best job that we can do to execute what we do to give us the best chance to be successful against what they do, which is extremely difficult to defend."
On Arkansas Running Back Knile Davis:
"We think he's a really good player and has had some really good runs. I think he's very capable of having great runs. We have a tremendous amount of respect for him, and their ability to run the ball, if they decide to do that. We also respect the other two runners that they have, and feel like they have really good running backs and we have a lot of respect for all three of them."
On Arkansas defensive lineman Trey Flowers from Huntsville:
"I think he's done a really good job, and we did look at him. Recruiting isn't an exact science. Sometimes you recruit guys that maybe turn out to be what you think you'd thought they'd be, and sometimes guys that you didn't recruit, you wish you did. We think he's doing a really good job for them."
On the emphasis placed on red zone offense and defense:
"We've done a pretty good job in the red zone offensively this year. Defensively, we haven't had that many opportunities in the red zone. Michigan scored on a couple of big plays and last week. They only got in the red zone one time, and we got a turnover. Offensively, we've scored touchdowns. We'd like to score them 100 percent of the time, but that's probably not realistic. We have come away with points, so we have made some improvement, but that will be much more challenging as we get into our league play."
On Coach Saban's message in last week's press conference:
"I wasn't trying to offend anybody. I was just trying to protect our team from having a letdown and not respecting their opponent, like they need to, and going out and focusing on things that they need to do to really play better, improve and become the best team that we can become. Sometimes, players get affected by what's going on around them. That's not really the media's responsibility; it's the players having the right attitude, not to be affected by that. When you have a big first game and our history here was not to play well in the second game, I don't like for people to make assumptions about what might happen the next time around, because nothing happens by accident. You have to go make it happen. That's really what I want our players to focus on trying to do."