Nick Saban and the Alabama football team are in the midst of their preparation for an SEC West showdown with Mississippi State this Saturday night inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The mood is certainly different this week in Tuscaloosa as the Crimson Tide are fresh off their disappointing loss to the Tennessee Volunteers this past weekend.
As he does each Wednesday, coach Saban stepped to the podium to update the media on his team’s preparation for the upcoming opponent.
Coach Saban would mention how excited he and the team are to be back at home for a night game in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Saban would also discuss the mindset of the team following the loss and much more.
Here is everything the legendary coach had to say.
“We’re certainly looking forward to getting back home and playing in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night. You know, homecoming is a great tradition, and I know it gives a lot of people who are Alabama folks an opportunity to come back and refresh some of the relationships and traditions they enjoyed when they were here and what they were proud of. We certainly want to play the game in a way that they can be proud of what we do.
“The big emphasis for the team this week is playing to win. There’s a difference between playing to win and playing to keep from getting beat. When you’re playing to keep from getting beat, the game isn’t really about winning. It’s about being afraid to mess up, painting negative pictures in your mind of bad things that can happen, and that doesn’t help you have success. So we want to be positive, correct mistakes, have the goal to go out and be aggressive and execute the way you’re capable of executing. Capability and reliability to execute under any circumstance. We certainly have the capacity to do that. We just have to do it with consistency, and that’s what we’re looking forward to trying to do.
“We’re really saddened to hear the passing of one of Mississippi State’s players, Sam Westmoreland. Our thoughts and prayers go out to he, his family, his friends, the Mississippi State football team. This is terrible that a young person is not going to be able to enjoy a successful life. But with that, we’re trying to get ready to play a game.”
On Bulldog cornerback Emmanuel Forbes
“He’s a really good player. He’s a playmaker. Special teams, too. That guy’s a really good cover corner. He’s very aggressive. He’s very instinctive. He’s got really good ball skills. He’s an outstanding player, no doubt.”
On what stands out about Will Rogers and the Bulldog passing game
“Will Rogers had a great year last year. He’s having an outstanding year this year. They’ve got a lot of really difficult passing concepts to try and defend. They’ve got really good players. They understand what they’re doing. He understands the offense as well as probably the coach and goes out there and executes it. He’s very accurate with the ball. He makes quick decisions and judgments. So this is a very challenging offensive team, and I think it’s very quarterback oriented. Him playing well, which he has done all year long, certainly enhances their opportunity to be successful.”
On the Jermaine Burton situation
“We handle discipline issues internally, and that’s the way we’ll handle this. But as I said today when I was asked about the league has tried to control people rushing the field, it’s a difficult circumstance for the league, it’s a difficult circumstance for the people who are on the field. But we got to go through those difficult circumstances and still respect other people. I think that’s on us to do that, and that’s certainly a lesson for all of us to learn relative to this.”
On Mississippi State’s ability to force turnovers
“They’ve got a lot of ball hawkers. They’ve got an experienced defensive team. They play a lot of pressure defense. There’s a lot of movement, a lot of stunting, a lot of blitzing, a lot of penetrating. They’ve got some good pass rushers. But we continue to try to create awareness with our team about attacking the ball. Sometimes you’ve just got players who do that, and sometimes it’s hard to get players to have confidence that they can tackle the next guy and can attack the ball. These guys got some guys that have some good ball skills in the secondary, too, so that always helps. I wish we would get more turnovers, take care of the ball better, and we’re gonna have to that in this game cause that’ll be a critical piece to having success in the game.”
On the maturity of freshman defensive lineman Jaheim Oatis
“I think he’s done a really, really good job of being able to stay focused, know what to do. No moment’s been too big for him, and as a freshman, you’d never know he’s a freshman. I don’t think the other players on the defense look at him as a freshman because of his maturity and the way he goes about his business. He’s done a really good job for us this year.”
On the teams response this week in practice following the loss
“Yeah, I think they’re responding. Our players wanna have success. I’ve said this before, fans get upset, people get upset when we don’t have success, but players get upset, too. Probably more upset than anybody because they work hard and they get frustrated when they don’t have success and they wanna know why and how they can fix it. And they’ve worked hard to try to do that. But I think it goes back to you’ve gotta have the right mindset, man, and we’ve gotta get more positive about how we approach beating the other team. That’s something that we’re working on this week, as well.”
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