WHAT DID NICK SABAN HAVE TO SAY?

Saban’s Monday Press Conference Notes

The coach of the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide met with the statewide media Monday. Here are some snippets of what Nick Saban had to say post-Louisiana and pre-Arkansas.

OPENING STATEMENT

“The one thing I was really pleased with (in Saturday’s win over Louisiana) was our players went out there and played with competitive character. Tried to do something to establish an identity as a team. There are things we can improve on on both sides of the ball as well as special teams. (The backups) executed not to the standard we’d like to see those guys play to. That’s something that will be a learning experience.

“Jonah (Williams) has a sprained ankle… and may not practice today. He should be back by tomorrow or Wednesday. We don’t have any significant other issues .

“Fayetteville is always a challenging place to play. Arkansas played their best game last week against Texas A&M. They’ve switched around quarterbacks … and now settled on Ty Storey as their starting quarterback. He’s been productive. (Storey for the season is 44 for 87 passing for a 50.6 per cent completion rate. He has thrown for 631 yards and four touchdowns, with four interceptions.)

“They’re a capable team and this is what I call a ‘trap game’ for us. These guys are playing a lot better on defense as well. Their defense is improved and I think playing really well.”

ON JEDRICK WILL’S PROGRESS AT TACKLE

“He’s a starter now. He’s much more confident. His mental errors have gone way down and he’s playing more aggressively. Both of our tackles have played very well this year.”

IMPACT OF THE NEW FAIR CATCH RULE

“I know it’s a player safety deal and that’s why we’re doing it. I don’t think we’ve fair caught any. If it’s three yards deep in the end zone we don’t bring it out. Other teams are doing it… and that’s their prerogative.”

ON DEPTH AT INSIDE LINEBACKER

“We feel like those two guys (Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses ) fit the role of playing all the time. That’s why we’re playing the guys we are playing.”

ON DEFENSIVE LINEMAN QUINNEN WILLIAMS

“We thought Quinnen was a really good player in high school. He only weighed about 260 then (and is up to 305 now). We liked his quickness and ability to run. Jonathan Allen was a little undersized when we recruited him. Quinnen has developed and he’s a hard worker. He’s been a very productive player for us.”

ON THE PLAY OF THE ARKANSAS SPECIAL TEAMS

“Arkansas is very capable and they’ve been very effective at times. They’ve had some plays that hurt them as well.”

ON TUA TAGOVAILOA’S FIRST FIVE GAMES

“We have a lot of confidence in Tua. He’s played extremely well in every game. I think he’s right on target most of the time, not only on where he delivers the ball but on who he delivers it to and why he should do it that way. He’d be the first to tell you.. the protection has been pretty good and the receivers have done a good job of getting open.

“I expect every player to play that way, but he’s exceeded that in terms of consistency.”

(Through five games without a fourth quarter attempt, Tagovailoa is 66 for 88 passing for 1,161 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has not thrown a pick and is the nation’s top quarterback statistically, with a Quarterback Rating of 97.9 out of 100 and a passing efficiency rating of 283.3. He is considered by the folks in Las Vegas as the favorite to win this year’s Heisman Trophy.)

ON THE STATUS OF OLB TERRELL LEWIS

“Terrell is making really good progress in his rehab (knee) and what he’s able to do. It’s a medical decision as to when he can start running, doing drills, practice and play. It’s strictly up to the medical staff. Rehab is a little different for every guy. Philosophically, I don’t make those decisions.”

ON RAEKWON DAVIS AND THE PASS RUSH

“I think our guys have done a reasonably good job up front of affecting the quarterback. We didn’t pressure a lot last game and that affects how many sacks you get. We did a pretty good job (on defense) in the passing game. We have had good pass rush in the pocket and decent coverage. It kind of goes hand in hand.”

Alabama is 5-0, 2-0 in the SEC, while the Razorbacks are 1-4, 0-2. They lost 24-17 at home last week to Texas A&M. The Hogs are coached by Chad Morris, whose Director of Football Operations is long-time Alabama staffer Randy Ross.

ALABAMA COACHING STAFF PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Four on offense, three on defense and a pair on special teams were selected

The Alabama coaching staff named nine players of the week following the Crimson Tide’s 56-14, non-conference victory over Louisiana last Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Jalen Hurts, Ross Pierschbacher, Henry Ruggs III and Tua Tagovailoa on offense; Raekwon Davis, Trevon Diggs and Christian Miller on defense; and Jaylen Moody and Jaylen Waddle on special teams were tabbed by the UA coaches for their output against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Hurts and Tagovailoa combined for 246 yards and three scores on 12-of-14 passing against Louisiana, part of the Tide’s efficient performance through the air. Tagovailoa was a perfect 8-of-8 for 128 yards and two scores with the sophomore adding a pair of rushes for 12 yards. Hurts, a junior, followed and finished his day 4-of-6 for 118 yards and one touchdown while contributing four rushes totaling eight yards on the ground. The duo helped the Crimson Tide signal-callers finish 13-of-16 for 340 yards and four touchdowns on the day.

The offensive line provided time for the Alabama quarterbacks’ impressive outing, with Pierschbacher leading the charge. The redshirt senior graded out at a team-leading 92 percent and did not miss an assignment on 49 snaps while accounting for a team-high four knockdown blocks. Pierschbacher did not allow a quarterback sack or pressure and did not commit a penalty. Ruggs III led all wideouts with five catches totaling 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His catch, yardage and touchdown totals were all career-high marks and all four of the sophomore wideout’s receptions resulted in first downs for UA.

Davis, a junior, led all defensive linemen with four tackles and helped limit the Ragin’ Cajuns to 288 yards of total offense. Diggs recorded his first career interception while also forcing his first fumble of the year. The junior’s efforts in the defensive backfield led to a season-low 88 yards passing by Louisiana quarterbacks. Miller, a redshirt senior, collected a sack (-7 yards) for a third consecutive game and added four tackles in his playing time.

Moody registered the first tackle of his freshman campaign, making a stop on kickoff coverage to limit the ULL returner to a 16-yard gain. Waddle impressed once again on special teams, returning his lone punt of the day 63 yards for a score. The return yardage was a part of the freshman’s career-high 201 all-purpose yards to go with his team-leading 138 yards through the air. Waddle hauled in three passes with a Tide season-long catch of 94 yards, resulting in a touchdown.

 

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