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What Coach Nick Saban Said After Alabama Played at Texas A&M

Returning to the scene of where he first used the term "Rat Poison," here's what the Crimson Tide coach said after facing the Aggies against at Kyle Field

After falling behind early, the No. 1 Alabama football team lost at Texas A&M on a last-second field goal, 41-38, at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.

It snapped a 19-game winning streak, and Alabama record of 100 consecutive wins against unranked opponent. 

Quarterback Bryce Young completed 28-of-48 passes for 369 yards and threw for three touchdowns against the Aggies. Running back Brian Robinson Jr. eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the second-straight game, tallying 147 rushing yards against the Texas A&M defense.

Wide receiver Jameson Williams and running back Roydell Williams each hauled in touchdown catches, with Williams leading all receivers with 146 yards on 10 receptions and two scores. John Metchie III had 88 yards on four catches.

Here's what Nick Saban had to say afterward: 

“Obviously, this is a very disappointing loss for us. I know the players are very disappointed. But I think that everybody needs to remember how they feel and not forget it because when I talk about having respect for winning, that’s what I mean. You wanna avoid the feeling that you have when you lose. So a lot of lessons to be learned out there tonight. You’ve gotta give Texas A&M a lot of credit for how they played. They had a good plan. Their players did a good job of executing it. 

"We certainly moved the ball well enough on offense yardage-wise, but they stopped us in the red zone, turned the ball over the 2-yard line with an opportunity to score. We actually went ahead in the game at the end of the game, couldn’t get the stops on defense we needed to and had the ball with three minutes to go in the game, could have gone 2-minute, went down the field and had a chance to kick a field goal and win it ourselves. But then we didn’t stop them.

“So they made the plays that they needed to make to win the game. We didn’t make the plays we needed to make to win the game. And hopefully, we’ll learn a lot from this. We still can accomplish everything we wanna accomplish, in terms of  ... but we’ve gotta do things better than we did tonight. We’ve gotta play better. We’ve gotta be more consistent. We’ve gotta finish drives. We’ve gotta get more turnovers on defense. We’ve gotta get more stops on defense. There’s a lot of things we need to fix.”

On issues in the red zone for the offense:

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“Well, you watched the same game I watched. We threw incomplete passes. We had guys open. We ran a bad route. A guy picked the ball off. We had some drops in critical situations. We had a drop at the end of the game when we could have went 2-minute and it would have been a first down and we had started to move the ball. So I don’t know that anything went wrong. We just didn’t execute. We didn’t throw and catch the ball like we needed to. We didn’t run it effectively enough. Some of those situations, you know you could say if we could run the ball effectively in those situations maybe we wouldn’t have those issues throwing it. So you could second-guess everything that didn’t work. But the issue is we just didn’t execute. We had trouble with their pressures in the first half, especially. The quarterback got sacked several times on third down. So there’s a lot of issues.”

What's your assessment of the short-yardage run game. Does it influence on the goal-line when you pass it?

“I think so. But we ran the ball really effectively tonight. I mean, we had, what, 153 yards rushing, something like that. B-Rob had another good game. I thought the offensive line did a good job in the run game. They’ve got a good defensive team. They’ve got a good front. We moved the ball effectively against them. We just didn’t finish drives, and we didn’t get stops on defense. There’s nobody that ... you can start with me, the coaches, the offense, the defense, special teams gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown. We also blocked a punt for a touchdown, but that was a huge momentum swing in the game, the kickoff return. We didn’t cover it right, correctly. So I’m responsible for all of it. We’ve gotta do a better job with our coaches. We’ve gotta do a better job with our players so that we can convert in situations, whether they’re in the red zone, third down, third-down stops on defense, too many big plays on defense in critical situations, several coverage busts. Just not the kind of execution you need to beat a good team.”

What changed for the defense in the second half?

“We got picked on the one play that they reviewed whether the guy was in or out of bounds. We were supposed to be playing – both safeties should have been right in position to make a play on the tight end catching the ball. We got beat in man-to-man coverage for the touchdown that tied the game. So there’s numerous things that we just didn’t do well enough in the game. Think about two things: Think about how you feel when you lose. Think about what did you do to contribute to losing. And I know there’s things that I need to do better. Every coach should have things that they need to do better. And every player. We did a lot of things out there to contribute to the other team, whether they were penalties, missed plays, dropped balls, lots of things. You can’t play at a place like this against a good team, and Texas A&M has a good team, their quarterback played a lot better in this game. We knew he was a talented guy and that he was gonna play better and better and he played really well. Some of that was we needed to cover him better, too, and put more pressure on him.”

On the dangers of forgetting what it’s like to lose, and how much of a factor he thought it was tonight:

“Well, this is the second time we’ve won 19 games in a row. I think if you look back in the record book, we won 19 games in a row and went to South Carolina and played about like we played today and got beat. So I don’t know the psychology of all that, but it really is not when you get to the game. When you get to the game, everybody wants to win. Everybody wants to play well. It’s what did you do to get the game? How did you prepare? How did you practice? What kind of habits did you create so you can carry those things to the game? And that’s what sort of eliminates bad plays. You’ve gotta give the other team credit. They’re capable of making plays. Their guys are on scholarship, too. But when you don’t do things like you think you need to do them, then that’s because what kind of habits did you create in preparation.

“So practice, how you take care of yourself, rest, recovery, all those things contribute to how you play in games. And I think all those things also are contributed to by what your sense of purpose is. If you’ve got a great sense of purpose in what you wanna accomplish and you wanna do, usually you create pretty good habits to do it because it’s important to you. And I think when the game comes, everybody wants to win, but we need to do things better to get ready to play better, especially when we’re playing on the road, especially when we’re playing against really good teams. And I don’t know of anybody in our division that’s not a really good team. So if we don’t play really well, we’ll struggle against anybody we play against.”

How do you view this loss in the big picture of how unpredictable college football has been so far this season:

“Well, look. I knew we were playing a good team. I know they lost two games, but they have a good defense. They’ve got good players. Tight end’s a really good player. A couple of the running backs are really good players. They’ve got good receivers. They’ve got a really good defense. So we were playing a really good team. So I thought we would have a really tough game here. So when you say this was unpredictable it’s because a lot of people assumed that things were gonna happen. But really it’s about what you do when you play the game. So I always tell our players, it’s all about what we do, and we have to do things very well to play against good teams to have a chance to win. So, you know, it’s disappointing, very disappointing. It’s my responsibility to get people to do things in a more positive way so that we can go out there and execute with more consistency.”