Countdown to Kickoff
Week 10 Football Press Conference Transcript



Oct. 29, 2012

Head Coach Nick Saban
Opening statement:
"After looking at the game, I don't really have any different feelings about it. I thought we competed very well. We got off to a really fast start, which was important offensively; first couple of drives, blocking a field goal, big momentum swings in the game. I think at this time of the year though, when we didn't do things as well as we would like, it came back to a lot of the fundamentals that are pretty basic to being able to execute at your position. I don't think things like that can go unnoticed at this time of the year. Guys have to develop good practice habits in terms of what they do and make sure they are still focusing on the process of what they need to do to play well. We had some guys that had some really good performances offensively. Chance Warmack, who is SEC Player of the Week, Michael Williams and T.J. Yeldon had very good games defensively. Denzel Devall and C.J. Mosley, and special teams John Fulton, Christion Jones, Cyrus Jones and Cody Mandell all did a really good job in the game. From an injury standpoint, we have a couple guys like always that will be a little slow today. AJ (McCarron) and Amari Cooper, probably, but we look for them to progress pretty rapidly through the week and be ok probably even tomorrow.

This is a great team and a great program we are playing. I think the most important thing for us to do is focus on preparing to play our best football. It's always what's important when you play good teams. It's to do a good job in preparation and have a good understanding of what you want to do. When you are playing on the road, it takes a special focus to be able to execute and do the things and stay tuned to what you have to do to be successful. These guys have obviously been pretty successful at home. They've got the longest running streak in the country. Les Miles, to me, has done as good a job as anybody in our league ever has in terms of what he's been able to accomplish and the consistency they've accomplished as a team through the years in his eight years at LSU. This year's team has great running backs, and they are still able to run the ball very effectively. Winning on the line of scrimmage in this game, both sides of the ball, is one of the most important factors in the game. They are a ball hocking, big turnover type of defense that creates a lot of negative plays for you. They still have really good explosive players on offense to make big plays down the field, so if you are trying to load up to stop the run, you can create problems for yourself. This is a really good team. They've got good specialist, a good punter, good kickers and good return guys. They are ranked nationally in a lot of different categories because they are very well coached, and they've got really good players. They do a good job of executing their scheme on both sides of the ball. They're ranked where they're ranked because they are a really, really good team. This will be a very challenging game for us. I think the most important thing is for us to focus on doing the things we need to do to take care of our business, what we control. That's always the most important thing in games like this."

On Kenny Bell's ability to stretch the field:
"Kenny has great speed, and we certainly like to use him in that capacity. He's got a history of being able to do things like that, and I think for us to be able to do things to create explosive plays with the players that we have is critical to being successful and creating a kind of balance on offense. Having the threat to be able to do that is helpful to the other parts of your offensive team. Kenny made a great play in the past game. AJ (McCarron) made a great throw and beat a really great player on that particular play. Hopefully we will be able to continue to do some things like that with all of the explosive players that we have. Kenny's been a guy that can get on top and has finished some of those plays for us. We need to continue to do that to be successful."

On how much his confidence has grown in his kickers Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley since this time last year:
"I think both of those guys have improved. They've gotten better each year. Cade's a lot more confident and has confidence in the technical aspect of what he needs to do to be successful. He's had more consistency in his approach to being able to do that. Jeremy has always been pretty accurate and continues to be that way. He has good maturity and good leadership. Cody Mandell had a really good game in the last game. He's more consistent than he has been, but that's still what we are always working with, to try to get that consistency out of our punting."

On whether game manager is a negative connotation for a quarterback:
"To me, you can't be a good quarterback unless you are a good game manager. You have the ball in your hand every time, and you are making some kind of choice and decision what to do with it. Whether you hand it off, what play you hand it off on or where you throw it in the passing game. You have to process a lot of information quickly and make quick decisions. I don't think it's fair to AJ (McCarron) because I've said he's a really good game manager for us that it's like, that means he doesn't do anything. He does everything. I don't think you can be a good quarterback unless you are a really good game manager. That's the ultimate compliment to me. You have to have the ability to make plays, but we've certainly been able to make a few with our quarterback this year, and I think it's going to be important that we continue to be able to do that as well."

On the familiarity of playing LSU for the third time in a one year time-span:
"I think every year is a different year. They have a little different team, little different players - the way they're going about what they do. They are very effective in what they do, but I think anytime you play somebody in your division or in your conference and you play them every year you sort of develop a history of (the things that they like to do), and I'm sure they do as well. You feel like you can do a little better job in preparation, because you have that knowledge and experience, going in to what you have to do. Saying all that to say this, just about every time these guys have played us, they do something a little different. So, you also have to be prepared to adjust in the game as well."

On the improvement in the touchdown to field goal ratio this year from last year:
"You obviously want to score a touchdown every time you get the ball in the red zone. I think red zone efficiency is very, very important to being successful - scoring touchdowns in the red area is very, very important. It's our goal defensively to be 60 percent effective in the red zone. It's our goal offensively to be 90 percent effective in the red zone. We have made improvement, but it's pretty obvious that when you score touchdowns it's worth twice as much as a field goal, so that's always the goal every time you get there. We have made some improvement and we want to continue to be able to improve in that regard as well."

On the success of running the ball up the middle and if that helps open up the rest of the offense:
"You kind of sound like my wife now. She grumbles a lot when I go home because she says we run the ball up the middle. I think that direct runs, which some people may say run the ball up the middle, are a bad thing, but we package a lot of our plays and when we get the look that we want, our offensive line likes to be physical and aggressive, so our backs do a good job of running the ball inside. We made some explosive runs running the ball inside. We also run the ball fairly effectively on the perimeter, and I think it's a combination of those things that are important to do. We are trying to do the best we can do with the players we have, to feature their talents in terms of what we need to do to be successful. When we execute, we do a pretty good job and sometimes when we don't, we don't look so good doing it. I think it comes down to execution, whether it's inside run, outside run, play-action pass or a drop back pass, and I think all those things are really important."

On AJ McCarron taking care of the ball:
"We have an old saying that I'm sure our fans don't like this either, `If every offensive series ends with a kick, whether it's a punt, a field goal or an extra point, that's pretty good - could be worse.' When you give the ball away to the other guy that's never a good thing and has a really significant impact on the outcome of games. AJ (McCarron) has done a good job of taking care of the ball. I think that's going to be really important as we continue to progress through the season, especially against teams like Mississippi State that are a big take-away team, and we didn't turn the ball over. (LSU) is a big take-away team that we are playing this week, and I think it is going to be important that we don't turn the ball over."

On the offensive line's ability to communicate after the first drive about different stunts that they are seeing:
"I think that it's a combination of both. We have experienced players who really understand what the other team is trying to do. I also think we do a good job with our coaching staff of identifying what exactly the other team is doing and how we have to adjust to be able to do that - what we need to be able to do. I think its combination of both things. It's also important that once you identify it, the players have the knowledge and experience that they can adapt to it and execute it accordingly when you make those adjustments. I think that's something our guys have done a pretty good job of this year."

On Eddie Lacy:
"Eddie has been a really good player for us. We have always had two backs; it's sort of a philosophical thing that we like to have two backs. I think durability is such a critical factor in running backs that if you play one guy all the time it enhances his chances of not being able to continue to play at the same level. It's always been our goal to play two guys - not always equally, but fairly equally to where both guys have a better chance to sustain the season at a high level and are productive throughout. Eddie has done a good job for us, T.J. (Yeldon) has done a really good job for us, and the combination of the two is probably most effective for us. Eddie was a good player in high school that we thought was a good player, so very, very pleased and happy that we were able to get him, even though he is from Louisiana."

On handling preparations for a game of this magnitude and what he learned from last year:
"If there was anything that I would say about last year's game it is I think there is such a thing as being too ramped-up for a game. Everybody has a place and a recipe and a formula for how they play their best. That is obviously the goal for every week that you play. Now, when you play in games like this everyone would say that it is really critical that you play your best in a game like this. The formula and the recipe for that doesn't really change. Even though you would like to change it and put some more sugar in the cake to make it taste better, it usually makes it taste worse. We have to stay with the formula for what helps our players be able to take care of business the best way that they can. That takes a lot of intensity, a lot of energy, a lot of emotion, but you can't go overboard to where the anxiety creates a negative that affects their performance in an adverse way. It's a balance. I don't know that anyone is an expert in how to manage it. I think every player needs to be aware of it and have the maturity to stay focused on the things that are going to help them play the best."

On Denzel Devall:
"Denzel Devall has been a guy that we have played a little more, and now that he has a little more confidence, knowledge, experience or whatever you want to call it in what to do, we played him some in nickel situations and he does have some pass rush ability. He helped us in the last game and he was active in the last game. We want to continue to use him in a role that he is comfortable with."

On if Saban's relationships in Louisiana helped with recruiting:
"We recruit players and give them opportunities everywhere that we feel like there are good players whether that is Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, especially Alabama, Tennessee. It doesn't matter where they are from. Hopefully the program that we have and the opportunity that those players have to be successful in the program personally, academically and athletically is something that makes them interested in coming to The University of Alabama. I think it is probably a bigger picture than anything about me."

#32, C.J. Mosley, LB
On the game vs. Mississippi State:
"Overall it was a great game as far as defense, special teams and offense. And as a team we played for a full 60 minutes and got the job done."

On the defensive performance:
"Our mindset was to stop the run for them. They were coming in saying they were going to be the first team to get a 100-yard rusher, so we took that as an answer and we just did our job and made them try to beat us with the pass and our secondary did a great job playing defense against the pass."

On what does it say about holding the SEC's leading rusher to 40 yards:
"When we do our thing right, we are always communicating, we are a hard defense to get through. It just shows day in and day out and week in and week out, we do our defensive goals, and we stop the team from going over 100-yards rushing on us. We are consistently affecting the quarterback, with quarterback hurries, sacks, and interceptions."

#83, Kevin Norwood, WR
On him being from Mississippi and playing against Mississippi State:
"It was a lot of fun, playing against one of the guys that I went to school with and a couple of guys I played on the all-star team with. It was just a lot of fun, catching up, but at the same time knowing they were going to bring their best so we had to bring our best."

On the offensive performance:
"There is always room for improvement, like Coach Saban always says because we see things that we know we could've done better. We know there are things we can do better. There is always room for improvement, and that's what we have to do, improve each week."

On the importance of turnovers this week:
"Not committing any turnovers is one of our goals, and we take pride in our goals. It helps us out to not commit any turnovers and helps us to be successful. We knew Mississippi State was No. 1 in the country in turnovers, and we knew we had to take care of the ball, control the offense, and control the tempo of the game."

#42 Eddie Lacy, RB
On his thoughts about the Mississippi State game:
"We played the way we were supposed to. The offense came out. We scored on the first drive, and that's something we've been trying to do a lot this year. We've done it here and there. The defense did exactly what they do every week and played their best. They played physical, and we got the win."

On not giving up a turnover to Mississippi State and preparing for that against LSU:
"Coach Burns preached to the team about them coming out there leading in turnovers and that they were going to go for the ball. Here and there in practice, we'd do ball drills to make sure we have it secure. When you guard the ball, you just have to keep in mind that when you're running, if you're getting big holes and if they're grabbing on you, they're going to try and take the ball."

On going back to Louisiana, his home state, to play against LSU:
"It's the same as every other game for me. We know it's a big game overall, but for me personally it's just another game."

On playing in Tiger Stadium:
"This will be my first time actually playing there at night, so I really don't know that whole experience. Like you said, as an offense we have our signals. We've been doing this, we've been to a couple of away games this year, so the fans, the crowd, they'll make noise, but it's not going to have any effect on us."

On preparing for the LSU game:
"This is a big game. They're going to come out with a high energy, ready to go, giving us everything they have just like every other opponent. We just have to come out and mask it."

#65 Chance Warmack, OL
On the offensive line's improvements:
"Every week we get better and better. It's always about communication. I think the communication was good this week. We started strong. As the weeks go on we're going to continue to get better. We just have to communicate and trust each other and just do our job."

On playing against LSU's defensive line:
"It's always fun to go against a physical defensive line. We just have a lot to deal with in terms of the blitzes they run and how they come off the ball in terms of running the pass. It's a lot to prepare for, but it's exciting at the same time."

On managing their emotions for big games like LSU:
"I'm pretty sure we've been in a lot of situations where people tend to hype everything up, but we keep a level head with everything. We just look at it as another game, another opportunity to get better, another team to look up on and look at what they do. We're just going to continue to get better week in and week out."