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Coach Nick Saban Press Conference Transcript



Oct. 13, 2008

Opening Statement:
“The thing that is most important for us is to focus on the things that matter. We need to focus on preparation, intensity and energy that we bring everyday to what we do.  It affects our performance.  Everybody has the opportunity to show the maturity and focus on the details that are going to help us improve as a team. I think we look at every game that we play, like it has a history and life of its own and play one game at a time.  We need to improve as a team and that should be what our focus is. We have a lot of really good teams to play.  Ole Miss is one of those teams. I think it takes a lot of maturity to play with consistency and for whatever reason we forgot to do the things that got us to 5-0. One of the coaches in our league said that this week. So, to have the foresight and understand the things that you need to do, so that you can continue to improve, get better as a team, play better as a team and build on a season is really the key to success.

“Houston Nutt is an outstanding coach.  He has done a great job wherever he has been coaching.  He did a great job at Arkansas for a long time. They (Ole Miss) have a very good team this year.  Defensively, they are one of the top-ranked teams in the league. They are very difficult preparation with the different things that they do offensively and they’ve got good players to do it with. They’ve got a really good corps of receivers.  They have been productive and all have big-play capabilities. (Dexter) McCluster is used all kinds of different ways as the wildcat back. He runs the ball, plays quarterback and runs the speed sweeps. (Jevan) Snead is an outstanding quarterback. He is throwing the ball well.  They are not a one-dimensional team at all in terms of what they do, they have tremendous balance.  Defensively, they have a lot of good players back, eight starters back, from last year’s team.  They create a lot of problems with their movement and their quickness. This is good all-around football team.  They’ve also done a good job on special teams.  They had a kickoff return for a touchdown. They have good return guys.  They had a punt return for a touchdown.  The blocked some kicks, blocked a kick against Florida. They have lost some tough games close.  They have beaten Florida on the road.  So this is a very challenging team for us and a very challenging game for us.  Obviously the focus needs to be on what we do and how we perform and how we play and that’s what we’re going to try and get our players to focus on.”

“The bye-week is over and everybody is healthy, so everybody is ready to go.”

On the time you spent on fundamentals and against Ole Miss during open date:
“We certainly tried to spend a lot of time on fundamentals.  In a day in age where a lot of people think it’s what you do and not how you do it that determines whether you’re successful or not, we’re still old-fashioned in terms of how you do it is still pretty important.  So, that was a big emphasis for us, individually and collectively, whether it was technique or systematically trying to improve in areas that we needed to fundamentally improve on.  We had a period each day, not just on Ole Miss, but on people that we play in the future and things that we’ll see in the future that are different to what we have seen to this point.  Obviously, their wildcat stuff, or whatever you want to call it, is something that is uniquely different and we did spend a little time on that.”

On Ole Miss’ playing a more physical-brand of football:
“Well they had a very good team when David Cutcliffe was there and we played against them before. They were physical, they played hard on defense and they had a great quarterback (Eli Manning), who has done a great job in pro ball.  So, we have a tremendous amount of respect for them. They do play physical now. They are very good up front with the offensive line.  They’ve got four or five starters back. The left tackle (Michael Oher) is an All-American player and a very good player and arguably one of the best offensive linemen in the country and they play very hard and physical on defense, but I’ve never known them not to play that way.”

On Travis McCall’s role and possibly making a living in the NFL doing what he does:
“Well, my focus is not really on that, but there are role players and certainly good-blocking tight ends are a premium. That is something that a lot of teams probably can utilize, will utilize and do utilize.  I think there is some opportunity for players of that style.”

On Javier Arenas being that complete cornerback:
“I think every player on our team has things to work on. I think the challenge for every play is to not be satisfied with where he is but continue to work on the things that he needs to do and Javy plays a lot of roles for us on our team.  So it’s very challenging for him.  He plays corner, he plays star; he is a return guy, so he does a lot of different things.  He has a lot of different roles, wears a lot of different hats.  I think it’s especially challenging for a guy like that because he needs to focus more than the normal guy, in terms of all the roles that he has and he had done a pretty good job of that.”