Nov. 24, 2014
Head Coach Nick Saban
“I don’t really have anything different to say about the last game. We got off to a little bit of a slow start, responded better as the game went on and had an opportunity to play a lot of players which got some valuable experience for them and learning opportunities as well in terms of what they did and didn’t do. Players of the week are Ryan Kelly, ArDarius Stewart, Landon Collins, Reggie Ragland, Gunnar [Raborn] did a good job for us and JK Scott. Both specialists did a really good job for us. Gunnar had never really played before and he really filled in nicely. Nothing really new on injuries. ArDarius Stewart and [Brian] Vogler are probably the two guys that are most questionable. We’ll see how they progress throughout the week, but they would be listed as questionable for the game right now. Not that everyone will practice today, but I think as the week progresses, we’re hopeful that everybody will respond and get back and be able to contribute and play in the game.
“I think the Iron Bowl is one of the greatest rivalries in college football. This game means a lot to a lot of people in this state, regardless of which side you’re on, and also around the country. As a competitor, it’s a great opportunity because this game has had a lot of significance over the past few years and it’s certainly no different last year or this year. It will be a great atmosphere, ESPN, night game here, Bryant-Denny Stadium has been great. I also think this is a game where you have to stay focused on the game and not all the things that go on around it. This game requires a tremendous amount of discipline, focus, and preparation to go out there and play the type of football game that you want to play. You can’t really concerned about all those other things and be able to do that. The focus needs to be on `what do I need to do to go out there and do my job well.’
“Gus [Malzahn] has done a fantastic job last year and this year. They have lots of returning starters, nine on offense and six on defense. I think that their offense is one of the most productive in the country and certainly in our league. They have a very good scheme. Their quarterback Nick Marshall does a fantastic job of executing on the field. They have a lot of weapons offensively. They have a couple of really good, explosive, big wide receivers that are great vertical receivers, [Sammy] Coates and Duke [D’haquille] Williams. [They have] a very good running back who leads the SEC in rushing. [Their] offensive line does a really good job and they have lots of speed on the perimeter with a lot of rocket sweeps and things that they do. This is a very, very challenging to defend in the way the play offense and the way they execute offense. Their fast pace is certainly something that we’ve played a lot against this year and hopefully it’s something that we’ll be able to adapt to in the game very well. Defensively, they are very athletic up front, are very active, create a lot of negative plays, and have been able to create a lot of turnovers with their defense. They play great in the red zone and have been really hard to score on, so I think this is a very good defensive team. They always do a great job on special teams, but Quan Bray is one of the outstanding return guys in the country, so it’s going to be important to play well on special teams. This is a very, very good team and this is a great rivalry game. Certainly, as a competitor, something that all competitors really enjoy playing in games like this against very, very good teams and a lot of good players with personal things. There’s a lot of guys that they probably know and played against in high school and maybe even played with. It’s a great game.”