Saban looks ahead to Georgia State

TUSCALOOSA, AL -  "Looking at the last game I think there were a lot of good things we did in the game, and I think the most important one, or the most significant one to me was, we played with good intangibles, – better intangibles in the game," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban.We played with a lot of effort, with a lot of toughness and a little better discipline to execute, which I think led to some explosive plays, which is one of the things we did well offensively. Certainly I was really pleased and happy with the way the team responded to the challenge of finishing the season and playing well against a very good top-20 conference opponent.

There are obviously some things that we want to clean up and get better on. We still made mental errors that led to negative plays on both sides of the ball. Ball security – the ball has been on the ground in the last two games more than it's been all year – that's something that we need to address in practice and practice those things so that they become the habits that carry over in the game. The mental errors on both sides of the ball are things that we really, really need to clean up. We always seem to see things that are different than what we practiced and with our little bit of lack of experience at certain positions, whether it be the offensive line or on defense. We get a little bit confused and have to make a lot of corrections.

We had a lot of players that played well in this game. We'd like to finish the game a little bit better from an overall standpoint, but we had some guys that played really well. Chance Warmack played very well and Marquis Maze on offense. On defense, Mark Barron and Robert Lester, and Robert was the SEC defensive player of the week. Cade Foster, Dee Milliner and Eddie Lacy did a good job on special teams. I do think that special teams made a difference in the game for us in field position. We did a really good job in kickoff coverage and even though the punt return got called back we had a positive average on punt return. They were a very good punt coverage team so that was a good thing.

We probably have three guys who won't practice today. Barrett Jones is probably out for this game. Kerry Murphy is probably questionable for this game and B.J. Scott is probably going to have surgery in the next couple of days on an ankle that has never really ever gotten any better over the last two or three weeks. I think it's a tendon issue. Since he hasn't responded, the only other way to do this is to fix it.

I think in games like this we always want to be concerned with playing to our standard. We always have a tremendous amount of respect for the team that we're playing. That's what our focus is, that's what we're concerned about this week. We're not concerned about anything else. We're not concerned about anybody else but the team that we play this week. Technically we need to prepare well and do what we need to do. This team (Georgia State) played to overtime against Jacksonville State who beat Ole Miss. We respect the players that they have. We respect the good job of coaching that they do. They present issues and problems that we need to resolve on offense, defense and special teams just like every other team that we play. Even though they have a lot of young players they have some good players, some very good players. Bill Curry is a very good coach and they have a good coaching staff, and they've certainly done a very good job with their team. They've been able to throw the ball effectively. They've got a pretty good passing quarterback and another guy they bring and do some Wildcat-type runs with who is a quarterback. This short week of preparation is something that is going to be challenging for us and it's going to be challenging for our players to be able to adapt to a new routine, to be able to prepare themselves like they need to prepare themselves, to go out and play a good game."

On having a short amount of time to prepare for Georgia State:
"Well today is like Wednesday if we were playing on Saturday, yet it is sort of a Monday practice for us. Our approach is we're going to cut practice down by 20 minutes so each of the next two days, but try to do and cover the repetitions that we get versus the other team and the scout team in preparation of the other team on Tuesday and Wednesday, which will not put us on the practice field much longer than we are on Monday and Thursday of a typical week. We'll practice in shells both days. At this point, with this approach, it's going to be a technical knowledge that we have to get and we can't be focusing on trying to get fundamental repetitions against each other because we just don't have that much practice time." 

On his talk with A.J. McCarron following his first offensive drive:
"I didn't feel his hip pad. You need to ask him what he felt. He told me we made ESPN, huh? Just to share with you, I love A.J. and the challenge with A.J. has never been about his talent, it's always been about staying in what you're supposed to do. We ran a post over that you're supposed to read from top-down. They had a middle of the field safety and guy covering Julio and a guy coming over – this was way before we ever got sacked and fumbled and did all that other stuff when we had to kick the field goal. I just felt like he should have thrown the ball to the guy that wasn't covered running the over route instead of trying to make a big play trying by throwing the ball down the field. You take what the defense gives you. You don't make a decision before it ever happens that you're going to throw a touchdown pass. You need to check your ego at the door and do what you're supposed to do to make it work for the team. I've had this conversation already so it's not like I'm doing anything new. It was a good opportunity to teach and it was a good opportunity for him to learn." 

On the success rate of big plays to the right side of the offensive line:
"I think the guys that created those plays were, they were perimeter plays and the key blocks on both of the plays – Julio's run and Mark's screen catch – were really the receivers blocking on the perimeter. In both cases – Hanks and Julio on Mark's run and Hanks and I forget who was in there on the other one – they were perimeter runs, speed sweep type plays, even though one was a screen pass. You throw them out there and you have to be able to block the people of the perimeter and once you break the line you have the opportunity to get a big play. They're not things where the offensive line had to do something significant. In Julio's play the offensive line actually blocked in the other direction to give them the impression that we were going to run a stretch play the other way." 

On the return of D.J. Fluker and the injury sustained by Barrett Jones:
"D.J. did fine in the game and Anthony Steen did a pretty good job after he got settled down in this game. You just get more guys that have less knowledge and less experience in the offensive line. We'll probably at least practice Alfred (McCullough) a little bit at guard too. Alfred is kind of the guy that can left tackle, right tackle, can just about play anywhere. He is really a guard to start with so we'll practice him some there just so we have some additional depth. D.J. did fine in the game and we'll probably end up playing like we finished the game after Barrett got hurt." 

On the status of Trent Richardson:
"He's practicing today. He actually wanted to play in the last game, but we didn't feel like he'd practiced enough or he was ready enough. I still think we have to evaluate that day-to-day. It will be interesting. He really didn't do anything on Friday, Saturday or Sunday so he's had three recovery days as well as rehab days to see where he is today and that will determine a lot as to how ready he will be to play in this game and what contribution he'll be able to make." 

On the difficulties of starting a first-year program like Georgia State coach Bill Curry is doing:

"This team is very well coached. You would not know. They've won six games. They don't look like they have any organizational issues. They are really well coached. They do a lot of different things; they don't have a lot of penalties. They've been practicing for a long time. I think the issue is that they haven't been able to do the full body of work and recruit four or five recruiting classes to have maybe the numbers of players in depth, although I have a lot of respect for the players that they have playing. They play hard, they execute well, they've got some decent skill players on offense and they've scored 30 points a game versus who they play. They play quality football." 

On the progression of some of the redshirt freshmen including Adrian Hubbard and DeAndrew White:
"They do a nice job. I think they do a really good job every day. Their development comes in having to work against the defense in DeAndrew White's case, which he does a fantastic job of. He's got great speed, good skill; he works hard every day and really provides us with a good look. That's the one opportunity we have when we do things against each other in practice is that those guys get a few reps and they're there with the coaches a little bit more. That's a chance for them to develop as well. Some of those guys are going to be really good players. In some cases when you look back on it you're not always right about, "should we have played this guy?" or "could we have played him" or "how significant would his contribution have been?" but we're pleased with their development and we think they'll be very good contributors in the future." 

On the performance of C.J. Mosley:
"C.J. does a great job. He's very instinctive. He's very athletic. He makes a lot of plays. Since he's played he's been a playmaker for us, whether it's tipping ball, batting balls, getting interceptions or making lots of tackles. It's very challenging – especially with all the multiples that we see and it seems like it's getting worse every year in terms of what the offense presents to the defense, in terms of what different things, formations and adjustments – to have a freshman who doesn't have a whole bunch of resource of information to go on to be in a position where he's having to make all these adaptations. That's our challenge with C.J. He's a very bright guy. He's done a good job and we just have to continue his development." 

On Georgia State head coach Bill Curry:
"I think Bill Curry is a fantastic person. He's always, I think, been a class guy in everything that I've ever had any dealings with him, and he's always been very fair and honest with me. I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for him. When he was in broadcasting I got to visit with him on a few occasions, but I always felt like he did a great job when he was a coach. I always thought he was an outstanding, classy person with great character and has done a good job in everything that he's sort of tried to do. That's my impression of him." 

 On Marcell Dareus becoming a fan favorite and a leader on the team:
"Well I don't know much about the fan favorite part of it. I'm a fan of all our players and Marcell has done an outstanding job for us. He really came into his own last year. He's a very talented guy with his size, strength, speed and quickness. He has ability to pass rush as well as to play the point. I think this year, even though we started out with some trials and tribulations, he has really gained the respect of his teammates in terms of how goes about his work and what he's tried to do to affect other people with his positive energy and attitude and the way he goes about doing what he does. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a person, and as a player, and he's done a really, really good job for our team for a lot of games now." 

On what David Ross brings to the team:
"David Ross is probably the guy that plays the least and contributes the most, if that makes any sense. He's really into what's going on. He's like having an extra coach in the offensive line. He's a very bright guy. He's got a lot of experience. He's a good player and when he's had to play he's done an outstanding job for us. He's so into what's going on and he understands what the other team is doing, what we should be doing, what the line calls should be and he's all right in the middle of it when we're making corrections on the sidelines. He's probably one of the most inspirational guys that we have on the team, and I think it all comes from it meaning something to him. Our team is a priority for him. It's just for him as a player, but how well we do. You always give it your best when things are a priority for you and I can't say enough good things about how he practices, the leadership he provides, the impact he has on the development of the young offensive linemen because he kind of spearheads all the calls when the second team goes in practice. I can't say enough about David Ross. He's a good one." 

Alabama Player Quotes

#37 Robert Lester, DB

On preparing for a game on a short week:

"Our focus just has to be ready for the short week. We don't have much time to get ready for this game, so we just have to take this short week and prepare quicker than usual." 

On the potential of looking past this week:

"We know that every game we play is important. Every player in college is an athlete and can make plays. We can't look ahead to Auburn and look past Georgia State, because they could sneak up and beat us, which obviously wouldn't look good." 

On if the short week helps focus:

"We just have to game plan quicker and make sure we are focused on what we need to do to execute our game plan this week." 

On if it is tempting to look ahead to Auburn:

"It is going to be a big game, but we can't bypass Georgia State. That is a big game too because it is the next game on our schedule."

On being tied for the lead in the nation in interceptions:

"It is a great stat. I can't credit it all to myself. Without the defensive line getting pressure on the quarterback and getting hands in his face, it wouldn't happen, so I have to credit them too. That is just doing what Coach Saban tells us to do. He watches more film than any of us, so we need to trust that he is going to put us in the right place. That is what he has been doing." 

On working with Coach Saban so closely:

"He is a great coach. Sometimes he is hard on you, but it is for the best. When I was a freshman, I didn't really understand, but as I have grown up, I understand why he does it. The atmosphere we play in is tough to play in, so he is just getting us ready for it."

#22 Mark Ingram, RB
On whether or not it is a challenge to stay focused for Georgia State and not look ahead:

"I don't think so. I think everybody knows we have a short week, so everybody knows how important preparation and film study is going to be. I think everybody's main focus and attention is going to be on this game."

On missing preparation time with the short week:

"It just takes more guys paying attention to detail and paying more attention in the film room. Everybody needs to be taking mental reps, if you aren't in at practice you need to take a mental rep. Every single practice, every single play is going to be very vital and important."

On the 30-10 win over No. 17 Mississippi State being a shot in the arm:
"When we came in and looked at the film Sunday, Coach (Saban) showed us the good part of the film and the bad part of the film. When everybody did things right, we had good results. When everybody wasn't on the same page, some guys were doing it right and some guys were doing it wrong, we had bad plays. It was just like any other game, but we had more people that played with more passion and intensity, more guys that were focused on paying attention to detail. We just executed a lot better in that game, in every phase of the game."

On the advantages of playing at Bryant-Denny Stadium with a 19-game home winning streak:
"Every player here loves to play at Bryant-Denny. The fans are so special. They're Important. They make it hard for the other team to have success, being how loud they are. Just how hard it is for the other team to communicate, it helps us a lot. The energy of playing in front of them is something we all look forward to."

On not having Trent Richardson in the game last Saturday:
"I definitely never like to see a teammate sit out due to injury, especially being Trent. Just not to be able to be out there playing, he was still real encouraging from the sideline, keeping our heads up. He was still being really helpful even though he wasn't playing. I hope he can come back as soon as he can."

#99 Josh Chapman, NG
On preparing with the short week:
"We only have four days to get prepared. Yesterday we came in to watch film and throw some stuff in. Today we have to go out on the field and have the right mind set. We only have two more days to work."

On the importance of not over looking Georgia State:
"You can't overlook any team. Any team can come at you several different ways. With it being their last game, they are going to throw everything at you."

On the advantages of playing at Bryant-Denny Stadium with a 19-game home winning streak:
"Playing here is a big advantage. We have great fans and on the defensive side of the ball you can hardly hear anything. It is something that we feed off of with our fans and they do a great job."

On the temptation as a defender of looking ahead to Auburn's offense:
"Obviously there are temptations, but as a defender you have to prepare for Georgia State's offense. We have to prepare for them right now."

On if the team had been told not to talk about Auburn this week:

"No, we haven't been told. All we were told is that we have Georgia State this week."

On getting the intensity back on defense:
"Sitting down and looking into people's eyes last week you could see that swagger back on the field. I feel confident that we are going to finish off the season strong."