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Nick Saban's opening statement at 9/9 news conference

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The following is Alabama head football coach Nick Saban's statement during his weekly news conference held Sept. 9, 2013:

"Obviously this is an exciting game for our team and the players in our program. I think this is the great thing about college football. Two outstanding teams. They obviously had a great year last year and are off to a fantastic start. Our team is in a little bit of an unusual circumstance to have one game, a bye week, which I think we had a good week, but now we have a big challenge on the road. I think the most important things in games like these (are that) people can stay focused and disciplined to do simple, fundamental things correctly: assignment errors, missed assignments, undisciplined eye control,  when you get away from being a good blocker, finishing blocks, good tackling – especially in space, catch, run after catch, cover, pass rush lanes – a lot of basic, fundamental things that when you look back and say, ‘What happened in the game before?' a lot of those things were issues and problems. Everybody has to take care of business. We have to be our team, playing our game, taking care of our business. Everybody has to do their job. When you play against really good players, which they have really good players and players who are capable of making very explosive plays on any down in the game, any lack of that ability to focus and discipline is going to help them be able to make those plays. If you take care of the little things, do the little things right, it's going to give you the best opportunity to be successful. It's like if you take care of the cents, the dollars can add up. If you don't, it never happens. [Texas A&M] is a fantastic offensive football team. You get 600 yards a game, you average 58 points a game. They did very similar statistically last year. Over time, it's a great concept. They have the right kind of players to execute the concept, and they do a very good job of executing their plays. You can say that they spread you out and run a screen. They go fast. Well, they go fast and run screens, but they execute them well. To me, it's not the scheme. It's not the going fast. It's their ability to do those things and execute extremely well, in terms of what they do and their players have a lot of confidence in it and they do a really good job of it.

"Defensively, I know some people have questions [about Texas A&M], but to me they played well defensively. They are physical, they're tough, they play hard. They have given up a few big plays early in the season, probably due to mental errors or something, I don't know. We struggled last year in the game with them, and I think it's going to be the same kind of things of importance on offense. We are going to have to block, execute, going to have to throw and catch [the ball], going to have make good decisions and play our game. Get a hat on a hat, eliminate negative plays and try to not get behind in the down and distance and take advantage of opportunities when we get them. These guys have good specialists, and they are very good on special teams. You don't win 11 games and do the things that these guys have done and not be really good in every phase of the game. The hurry-up, speed, up-tempo is something that the defensive players have got to be able to adjust to. We are going to have to play a lot of players in the game, so more guys have to be ready to play disciplined football and make good decisions based on what they are supposed to do. Last year when we didn't do that, we really paid for it, and hopefully we can do a little better this year."

INFORMATION/PHOTOS SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics Dept.

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