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What Nick Saban Said on Monday After Alabama's Loss to Texas A&M

The Crimson Tide head coach will speak to the media on Monday following the loss to Texas A&M and ahead of another road trip to Mississippi State.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. —It's been more than 24 hours, so in Nick Saban's mind, it will be time to move on from Alabama's loss to Texas A&M and move ahead to the Mississippi State game on Saturday. 

However, that doesn't mean there won't be any discussion about that loss on Monday when Saban takes the podium at noon as he does every Monday. 

Live Updates from Nick Saban's Monday press conference

  • Saban calls Mississippi State a "much, much improved team," and one of the best offenses in the country. Says it will be a big challenge for the defense. 
  • "The big thing for us is we've got to take care of our business," Saban said.
  • It's more taxing for defensive linemen to play against teams like Mississippi State that pass a lot more according to Saban. 
  • Saban says they didn't go a great job of getting pressure on the QB against Texas A&M. "We didn't get the type of pressure that we wanted." Said they need to do a better job in getting into third down situations where you can get that type of pressure.
  • Saban says most of the offensive line's issues were due to a lack of communication between the line, running backs and quarterback. He did see adjustments in the second half against A&M. 
  • Saban thought Bryce Young stayed focus and played well in the game after his interception. "Nobody's perfect when it comes to accuracy, but he did a pretty good job in that regard."
  • "Players have to remember how they feel when they don't have success." 
  • "Sometimes the best lessons you learn are when you do have failings." Saban says it's human nature to be more willing to learn when you don't things right.
  • "B-Rob's played really, really well the last two weeks." Saban said the team still wants to utilize the talents of the other players at running back more. 
  • Saban said losing Malachi Moore to targeting early in the game obviously affected the defense, but other individuals needed to play better even in his absence. 

Full Transcript

Opening Statement

"Well I think the key thing is for everybody in the organization, our players, coaches, is to respond the right way to the things that we need to fix. We have to be technical in the way we approach the players in how we can fix it. They have to be receptive and trying to do things and pay attention to detail and do things the right way and understand how that’s going to affect our performance when the game comes. So, that’s our No. 1 goal and objective for today.

"You know, Mississippi State is really much, much improved team. They’re playing really well right now. Their offense is like, one of the top five in the country in terms of pass offense. They throw the ball 56, 57 times a game. So this is going to be a real challenge for our defense. Their defense is very good at stopping the run, they're like third in the SEC overall. They’re very aggressive in the way they play. Their players are really playing well together. They play a little different kind of front, 3-3 stack type thing, which, you know, creates some preparation things that we need to do a good job on. They’ve got really good skill players on offense, they’ve got a couple of receivers that’ve been very, very productive. Will Rogers has played really, really well for them. He’s very accurate with the ball, he understands the offense he’s been very, very consistent in the way he’s played throughout the season. I think they can run the ball a little bit better than they could a year ago. So, that’s a challenge when they throw it as much as they do and they’re very aggressive and good on special teams. Even though their kicker is injured, I don’t know if he’ll continue to be injured but it kind of is a challenge all the way around. I think the big thing for us is we’ve got to take care of our business, correct our things, do the things that we need to do to be able to play the way we want to play, and there’s obviously some things that we need to do better."

On how you keep the defensive line fresh against a pass-heavy team like Mississippi State

"Well, I don’t think there’s any question about the fact that you’ve got to rotate players and keep a lot of fresh players in the game. You’ve got to rush three guys sometimes, you’ve got rush four guys sometimes, you’ve got to rush five guys sometimes. I think you’ve got to mix it up and try to disguise what you’re doing but there’s no question about the fact that it’s more taxing for a defensive lineman to play against a passing play and exert the kind of effort that you have to have I pass rush as opposed to what you may have to do on a running play. 

"So it’s a space game, I also think that the defensive lineman have to run more on a lot of their perimeter and short passes because that’s the kind of game it is. Sometimes when they throw it, it's nothing more than a quick pitch and everybody needs to be rallying and leveraging the ball."

On what Texas A&M did to make it challenging to run in the red zone

"Uh, I don’t know that there’s a good answer to that. I don’t know if we challenged them running it as much as maybe we could, and you know that’s one of the things that I think we need to work on trying to improve on."

Assessing the defense's ability to get pressure on the quarterback against A&M and how that can improve

"We didn’t do a great job of it. They were very smart about a lot of bunch formations, not very many spread-out formations. They seven-man protected some, then they free-released the back, kept the tight end in and blocked. They were very protection conscious. And we didn’t get the kind of pressure that we want. But I think a lot of times you need to create the kind of third-down situations where the best opportunity to get pressure is in those situations. As much as they were trying to run the ball, and especially early in the game, they ran it effectively. We were calling more run-type stunts, which don’t necessarily give you the kind of pass rush you’d like to have in some circumstances.

But it’s definitely something that we need to improve on."

On how they can improve when the other team overloads the offensive line with pressures against Alabama

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"I think most of the issues were created by communication or, I guess you could say, lack of communication. They did give us some different looks, which we need to adjust to. The quarterback, the running back, the offensive line all have to communicate and get on the same page. And I think we did a little better job of picking things up in the second half than we did in the first half. So we did make the adjustments that we needed to make.

"But it was an issue, especially in the first half, when I think we got sacked three times or something like that. We didn’t’ communicate very well on who’s sliding to who and how we’re picking things up."

On John Metchie III 

"John’s battled some injury things going into the season that were kind of carryovers from last season. He’s worked very hard to try to get things right. I think that he’s done a good job. I think that the more he can practice and the more that we can develop the kind of timing in the passing game that we’d like to, that would probably be beneficial to his performance as well as our productivity with him. But he’s doing everything that he can do to contribute to the team."

On how Bryce Young responded to his interception against Texas A&M

"We didn’t run a very good route on the one that he threw. But I thought he stayed focused, didn’t get upset, and played well in the game under the circumstances. I think we handled the noise better. I think his reads were pretty good for the most part. Nobody’s perfect when it comes to accuracy, but I thought he did a pretty good job in that regard.

"I thought he kept his poise and really stayed focused on the next play. I didn’t think that affected him."

What does he say to the team in the locker room after a loss?

"Well I think that, you know, players have to remember how they feel when they don't have success. And I think they got to remember how that feels. And then I also think that they have to think about, well, how did what we did sort of contribute to this feeling that I have. And then, what am I willing to do to fix it, basically is, you know, the message. So when I say how do we respond to this, that's what I'm talking about, you know, how do you respond to the feeling that you had when you didn't have success and what are you willing to do to fix it.”

Defining "don't waste a failure"

“Well I think that what it means, very simply is sometimes the best lessons you learn are when you do have failings. And you can always learn more when you don't do something exactly right. And it's human nature to be more willing to learn, when things don't go right. And so, I think you don't want to waste the opportunity that when you did things that weren't successful, how could I improve on those things so that I become a better player, my performance is better, it helps the team more. So when I say don't waste to failing, it's not getting frustrated with the fact that you failed, it's your response to the failure and how you can sort of correct it and do it better the next time.”

On the running game's reliance on Brian Robinson Jr. 

"No, I think that B-Rob's played really really well. The last two weeks, really well. He’s been an outstanding performer for us. And we have confidence in the other guys, and we want to play the other guys. So, and we're going to continue to try to use B-Rob and help him be as effective as possible and he's been extremely effective in the last two games, but also utilize the talents of the other players, maybe more and more as we go on.”

How much was the defense affected by the absence of Drew Sanders (injury) and Malachi Moore (ejected for targeting)

"Well I think that anytime you lose starters that have experience … It's got to have some impact and effect on you. I didn't think that, you know, we sort of adjusted and played the way we need to play in the back end. How much of that was contributed to Malachi going out and how much it is just every individual needs to improve their ability to perform with a little more consistency in terms of mostly technique type things is something that's, you know, hard to sort of put a value on but when you have players that have experience, experience is, just what it means you know they had opportunities to go out there and make mistakes and learn from it and grow from it and become more consistent. And when players are less experienced than you know sometimes, you know, they learn and grow as they go. And so it's never good to lose experienced players.”