Skip to main content
Publish date:

What Nick Saban Said After Alabama Hosted New Mexico State

Crimson Tide wrapped up its non-conference schedule for the 2021-22 season at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama and New Mexico State met for just the second time in the history of the two programs.

The lone matchup came on Sept. 7, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, with the Crimson Tide claiming a 62-10 win over the Aggies.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban improved to 2-0 in the matchup, having won by a combined score of 121-13.

Here's what he had to say during his press conference:

“I was really pleased with the way the guys came out and competed in the game today. These are tough games, after you have a lot of SEC games, to try to get guys to be serious about, but I think the energy and sense of urgency we kind of had and the way we played was what we are looking for, and we got to play a lot of players, so that was a good thing. A lot of guys got to play and get some experience. They may have to play.

“I thought we had great balance on offense. I thought Bryce [Young] played really well. The sack fumble really wasn't his fault. The protection was better today, but we need to continue to try to sure up those things, so we don't get him hit. I think it was good we got some balance in the running game today. Had some receivers make explosive plays. Got to play a lot of players.

“Defensively, after the first drive, they did a couple things a little different we weren’t ready for, we really settled down and really played well. They didn’t have 150 yards total, so that's always pretty good and we got to play a lot of players on defense as well.

“It was a little bit costly out there. We lost Roydell [Williams] probably for a good while and JoJo [Earle] probably not quite as serious, but still going to be out for a while. Those two are pretty significant injuries.”

On the running game, and having to use some of the emergency running backs:

“I thought they played well. They’ve had an opportunity now ever since Jase [McClellan] got hurt, however many games that’s been, since the Ole Miss game, I guess. We took Demouy Kennedy from linebacker, who had played some running back in high school. He’s kind of a big, heavy, athletic guy that has made progress there. And Christian Leary’s a wide receiver, a smaller, quicker guy but still has played running back in his past. We’ll need those guys. Obviously, Trey Sanders is gonna have to step up now. This is our third running back that we’ve lost this season, so we’ll be a little thin, but we’ve gotta keep the guys that we’ve got improving and get those other guys even more ready to play in the future.”

On the status of Javion Cohen and Darrian Dalcourt:

“Javion Cohen had a wrist issue that was repaired, and he’s fine. And Dalcourt will be back to practice on Tuesday. So both guys will practice on Tuesday.”

Read More

On DeMarcco Hellams:

“DeMarcco has a thigh bruise. He had a thigh bruise going into the game. He unfortunately got hit in the same spot, even though he was padded. He could’ve gone back in the game and played, but I think the score was 35-3 or something at the time or something and D-Wright’s a good player that has a lot of experience, so we just decided not to put him back in the game.”

On the passing combination of Bryce Young and Jameson Williams and the connection they have:

“First of all, Bryce has done a really good job managing the entire offense, in terms of whether it’s get us in the right play, throw the ball the right place, try to get us in the right protection. He does a great job preparing in the game. And Jameson is exactly what we looked for in the offseason. We wanted a fast, vertical threat that could take the top off the defense, and a lot of the routes and big plays that he makes are designed for him because of who he is and what his skill set is. And it really complements John Metchie, too, and some of the other receivers that we have. So I think it’s great that those guys have had outstanding years so far. I hope we can continue to do that in the future.”

On Bryce Young’s strong start after Saban challenged the team this week:

“I really challenged the team this week. I told them it was kind of Judgment Day for us. We’ve been a little bit inconsistent. We don’t look at the scoreboard, it shouldn’t affect how we play. The opponent is faceless, it’s all about how we play. There are elements of being a team. Everybody’s gotta put the team first, buy into the principles and values of the organization, be positive and supportive of each other and be responsible and accountable to do your job and support other people and challenge them to do their job. I thought that energy and enthusiasm and sense of urgency was really good out there today, and I think Bryce kind of led the charge on that.”

On the play of Alabama’s young receivers:

“[Javon] Baker made some good catches. Agiye Hall got to play, made a pretty good catch on third down. Ja’Corey Brooks has been making steady improvement and had an opportunity. We got a holding penalty on the play, but I’m pleased with the progress that those guys are making and I think it’s important that we continue to have these young players that can make some progress because when you’ve got guys go down – we had two starters on the offensive line out today. Now, we lost a couple other guys – punt return guy/slot receiver. We’ve just gotta have more guys that are ready to play winning football. And I think those guys got great experience today and I think they’ve responded well.”

On the play of the offensive line with two starters out:

“I think they did well. But we’re gonna play against better competition, better front sevens, bigger, stronger, more physical guys. I thought they did a good job today. I thought they did a good job all week in practice. These guys all wanna play well. We need to do a good job to prepare them so that they can play well. I think we challenged ourselves as coaches a little bit this week to try to get more players to be able to play well on our team and make sure we were doing a good job in preparation in terms of how we practiced, the things we looked at, the things that we saw. And I think the players responded well to it, and I think they played well today, which shows in the balance that we had offensively, run and pass.”

On Alabama’s slow start each half:

“I think you’ve really gotta be digging deep. You know it’s hard to win. I see people getting beat – what was the Florida score today against Samford? I mean, do you want me to be critical of my team because we had to punt once in the first quarter and they got a field goal? I mean, I’m not gonna do it. Like I said, they did a couple things, we made a couple mistakes. They did some things different, we adjusted to it. I think the players did a good job. I’m not gonna be critical of anything that our players did when we win 59-3. ... So not a good question, incidentally.”