Orange Bowl draws near after long layoff between games for OU, UA

Final coaches press conference help ahead of Orange Bowl

MIAMI, FL (WSFA) - Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley and Alabama’s Nick Saban had to strike a pose several times at Friday’s Orange Bowl press conference.

The two head coaches spoke to the media for the final time before Saturday’s CFP semifinal. One team will be all smiles following Saturday’s game while the other will head home with its season coming to a close.

The last time we saw both OU and Bama on the field was on Dec. 1 in the SEC and Big 12 conference championship games. The long layoff is nothing new to these programs.

“I think that any time a team has extra time to prepare, obviously it gives you a chance to do some things differently," Saban said. "I think players' ability to adapt and adjust in games as well as coaches' ability to help them do that is probably critical when you play in games like this.”

“Hopefully you’re able to get some guys healthy. Hopefully you’re able to get a good feel for what your opponent does and again, what is your formula for winning and what do you need to do better than maybe you did in the previous game, and taking those next steps to continue to be the team that you feel like you can be,” Lincoln Riley stated.

Both coaches obviously have to prepare for anything the other team might throw their way. You never know what might be cooked up in the four weeks between games.

Saban joked Friday he needs to expect anything from Riley’s explosive offense.

“I mean, Coach Riley over here, he’s got lots of plays, and we haven’t been able to cover all the ones that they did all season long. We’re working on it, though,” Saban admitted.

Oklahoma is the nation’s top scoring offense with 49.5 points per game while Alabama’s defense gives up 14.8 ppg, which is fourth in the nation.

The Orange Bowl kicks off Saturday at 7 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. The winner will move on the national championship game.

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