Everything Nick Saban said on Wednesday of Texas game week

On3 imageby:Charlie Potter09/06/23


Alabama Coach Nick Saban's Wednesday Press Conference - Texas Week 9.6.23

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama head coach Nick Saban spoke to reporters after Wednesday’s practice as the Crimson Tide continues to prepare for its top-15 matchup with No. 11 Texas. Below is everything Saban said during his final press conference before game day.

“I think everybody should have pride in performance. We talk about personal performance in anything that you wanna try to do, and is that more important to you or is it more important to somebody else? But when you play competitive sports, the other guy’s looking at you, trying to figure out, ‘How am I gonna take advantage of beating this guy?’ And if you have pride in your performance, you’re gonna make sure you take care of the things that you need to do to play your best so you learn from past experiences, you improve and you actually gain confidence in the way you practice and the way you do things and it, fortunately, helps you play better and stay focused in the critical time in the game in big games. So that’s something that we’re trying to get our players to really stay focused on is personal performance. How can I achieve and play a little bit better? How can I prepare for the game a little bit better? How can I have the mental practice from here to there to be able to eliminate mental errors, eliminate assignment errors so that nobody is gonna be able to come in and say, ‘We were able to take advantage of this particular person,’ so that you can have success? That’s really important.

“I think atmosphere and environment in this game, fans – their energy and enthusiasm – really can have an impact on a game like this. You impact the offense, their ability to check, their ability to communicate, sometimes get the snap count right. So I think the fans being in this game can create not only positive energy for our team, which we certainly appreciate and I know the players appreciate, but also make it more difficult for the other team to operate when they have the ball. So I think that energy and enthusiasm is really important, too.

“And Austin, look, you didn’t ask a bad question the other night. I just didn’t answer it very well. And when a guy plays well in the game, at any position, it should help his confidence and it should help him perform better in the future. But I do think that every player has to understand that just because I played well, I still want to try to improve the few things that I could have done better. And I think if a person keeps that mindset, then they’re always improving, aight, because you’re never satisfied and you’re always trying to do better and you don’t let complacency creep into your game. And that certainly hasn’t happened with Jalen (Milroe), so hopefully, the confidence that he gained in this game will certainly help him to continue to play better and better in the future. That’s what we hope for as coaches. That’s what we try to encourage him to do. And that should have been my answer the other night.”

Saban on the Texas offensive line…

“First of all, they’ve got a really, really good scheme in terms of the way they try to run the ball. They try to formation you, the motions that they use, the formations that they use. And their offensive line does a good job of getting a hat on a hat. They’re big. They can play physical. They’re athletic. They’re pretty good pass blockers. So they’re just a good all-around group, and they have plenty of experience. I think this is one of the best, better offensive teams personnel-wise and scheme-wise and the way they’re coached to play and execute of anyone that we’ll see this year.”

Saban on Jermaine Burton…

“I think Jermaine has shown a lot of maturity. I think the big thing we’ve tried to emphasize with all of our players — and with Jermaine as well. Who you are off the field sort of carries over into who you are on the field. So if you can be responsible and accountable to do things off the field — whether it’s go to class, see a tutor, whatever it is — then that’s going to create the right habits for you to do the right thing on the field. You don’t discipline when you go on the field. You get it in your life when you start getting up in the morning and start making choices and decisions about what you’re going to do and what you’re not going to do. And that’s something that he’s learned to understand, and I think that has carried over off the field as well as on the field. I think that’ll help him be more successful in whatever his challenges are in the future, because he could have a really good career if he could continue to progress in that area.”

Saban on the Texas defensive line…

“The two inside guys are really, really good. Strong, powerful, athletic, can pass rush, really hard to block, don’t give up a lot of movement inside, which makes it difficult to run. Their ends are athletic and they do a good job of playing together as a team. They’ve got really good energy and enthusiasm. They played really well last week. It’s a very good defensive team. It would be challenging for us to be able to get movement on the people we need to get movement on so we can have some balance on offense. They’ll be challenges in pass protection as well.”

Saban on former Alabama LB, current Texas GA Nico Johnson…

“First of all, they’re our championships, not my championships. There’s a lot of people that contribute to that, a lot of player. On every plaque, we want every guy’s name on the plaque, because they all contributed to it in a positive way. Nico is a great person, smart player, was very productive here as a player. Has got great character. I think would be a great coach. He’s smart, he’s bright, he’s industrious, he’s a hard worker. So I don’t think there’s any question about the fact that he would be an outstanding coach.”

Saban on the Texas secondary…

“They’ve got some really good players. They’ve got an outstanding corner. They got a couple really good safeties. They’ve got experience. These guys, fast reactors. They play man-to-man, they can cover you. They tackle well. They can play the ball. They’re good man-to-man players, so those three factors in the secondary are always thing you look for to really have a successful unit and it’s gonna be a challenge for us to be able to beat man-to-man and to be able to take advantage of things in the passing game. I mean, the challenge is, you gotta protect, you gotta be able to get open and you gotta be able to throw the ball accurately when it all happens so that’s what we’re focused on trying to get our guys to do.”

Saban on Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian…

“I think Sark is one of the best coaches we’ve ever been around when it comes to offense. He’s got a great disposition with players, he’s a great teacher. He’s got a great understanding of the game, really understands defense and how to attack defenses but has some really good concepts on offense that are hard to defend, understands how to present them in different ways so that maybe whatever you practiced, it doesn’t really come up that way in a game, which makes it more difficult for defensive players. But Sark did a great job here for us. He’s doing a great job in Texas and it’s gonna be a very challenging game. They recruit well, they coach well. They’ve got good players and they’re well coached.”

Saban on giving Sarkisian a second chance…

“I like giving people second chances. I think that their willingness to do the right things and whatever their mistakes were, they’re trying to fix it and look for an opportunity. Geez, when Sark was here the first time he did such a good job, there was no question about the fact that we’d love to have him back a second time. He represented the program well, he’s first class in every way, so I was glad I gave him a second chance. I’m glad that he came here, whether it was an analyst or whatever, proved that he could do a good job and went on to Atlanta to be the coordinator and came back here to be the coordinator so it’s great.”

Saban on if former assistants have an advantage vs. Alabama…

“What the question would be is, does somebody else know more about what we know than what they know? Yeah, is it an advantage to the other guy that he knows what we do? But we also know what they do, so I don’t know how you put that on a scale and say that it’s more advantageous to one person than the other. We always try to focus on what we gotta do with our players to try and get them to play good and not really worry too much about the other guys. But there could be some terminology things that if you don’t change it up, they might be able to take advantage and I think we’re aware of those things, trying to make sure that we don’t give them any advantages, but I think it kind of goes both ways.”

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