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Alabama football: Nick Saban impressed by Florida quarterbacks

James Fletcher IIIby:James Fletcher III09/15/21


Alabama head coach Nick Saban had high praise for both Florida quarterbacks ahead of his Week Three road game in Gainesville. He also noted that Dan Mullen might be the most qualified person to handle two athletic quarterbacks in the same offense during Wednesday’s SEC conference call.

“When you have two quarterbacks that are as capable running the ball as they do, and Dan (Mullen) has always been able to do a really good job of featuring the players that he has on his team,” Saban told reporters on the SEC’s Wednesday conference call. “When he was at Mississippi State he did it with Dak (Prescott) or any of the other quarterbacks he had there. It’s very challenging because you have an extra blocker on a lot of these plays when the quarterback runs the ball. So you need a plus-one player on defense all the time. And the guy that’s assigned to the quarterback better be athletic enough to take him.

He continued: “It does present a lot of problems and we’re working hard with our players to do the best we can to play good run defense in the game. But as I’ve said before, it takes very disciplined eye control, very disciplined team defense with everybody doing their job. Because you have to account for the quarterback on each and every play.”

More praise for Anthony Richardson

Richardson put himself at the center of a quarterback controversy when he stepped on the field. His off-the-charts production has brought on high expectations and a legendary comparison.

“Anthony Richardson hasn’t been in for nearly as many snaps as (Florida’s) other option, but the only other QB that’s really posted the same kind of gaudy numbers before at Florida is Tim Tebow,” said one reporter on the conference call, asking Saban about preparing to face two quarterbacks.

“I don’t think it’s fair to make comparisons between players. But we certainly have a tremendous amount of respect for both their quarterbacks, Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson,” Saban responded. “In the few plays that he played, (Richardson) made some outstanding plays. And he’s certainly a tremendous weapon, and so is Emory Jones. … If we don’t play really disciplined on defense, it’ll be really difficult to manage these guys’ skill level.”

While comparisons to Tim Tebow might be premature, Richardson has joined elite company in his first two games. Richardson is the first Gators quarterback to accumulate 100-plus yards passing and rushing in a game since Tebow in 2009.

It took Richardson just three passes to accumulate 152 yards and two touchdowns throwing the football. Additionally, the electrifying quarterback needed just four rushing attempts to rack-up 115 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Saban continued his praise of the Florida quarterback, calling him a threat on the ground and through the air.

“Anthony Richardson has made some phenomenal plays when he’s played. (Both) running and passing, so he’s definitely a big, strong running back-like guy when he does carry the ball,” Saban said. “And they have some really good quarterback runs to feature that talent. But he’s also showed poise and presence in the passing game.”