Nov. 10, 2014
Nick Saban Opening Statement
“Obviously, the last game was a great finish to a very tough game, physical game. I talked about the resiliency our players showed during the game to be able to come back and overcome a lot of adversity. We did some really good things during the game, but there’s also a lot of things that we probably need to work on to improve. I think the focus at this time of the year has to be on what you need to do to improve. It’s very important to turn the page. Now we have to focus and prepare for the No. 1 team in the country. They have an outstanding team and it presents a great challenge.
“It’s going to be great to be back home in Bryant-Denny Stadium. We’ve only had one game here in seven weeks, so I’m sure the players are looking forward to that. We’re looking forward to it. We’re looking forward to the excitement of having [ESPN College] GameDay here and having a nationally televised game on CBS.
“The players of the week last week: Arie [Kouandjio], DeAndrew White on offense, Landon Collins, Reggie Ragland, Cyrus Jones, Brandon Ivory and Nick Perry on defense. Specialists, Adam Griffith made some big kicks in the game, Cole Mazza has been doing a great job all year and Reuben Foster is one of our key guys on special teams, who made some really big plays.
“Mississippi State, obviously, based on their body of work, has proven that they have one of the best football teams overall in the country. If you look at the balance they have on offense, they are one of the leading offensive teams in the country, but the balance that they have is almost equal in terms of rushing yards and passing yards. Those are the most difficult types of teams to defend and I think that it’s largely because of the quarterback. Dak Prescott is a very talented guy in a lot of ways. He’s a big physical runner, which he reminds you of [Tim] Tebow in a lot of ways, but he’s also a very, very good passer. They have a big offensive line that has a lot of experience and for their skill guys, they have a combination of big guys, fast guys, little guys and quick guys that all have been very productive and they do a very good job of utilizing those players in whatever way they need to feature what they can do best as players. Defensively, they are one of the top teams in country in terms of scoring defense. They are very physical, they are big up front and they create a lot of pressure. They are one of the best teams in how they affect the quarterback. They stop the run. I think this is when stats kind of get misleading, they’ve been ahead in a lot of their games and the other team is passing the ball on them a lot, so that doesn’t mean they have an issue in pass defense, it just means they’ve had to play against a lot of passes. This is a really, really well coached, solid team that has a lot of good players. They are a senior team that has a lot of experience. This is going to be a challenge for us to bounce back and play our best football of the season against probably the best team we’ve played all year.”