This one didn't go anything like Mississippi State had drawn it up.
In a game where the Bulldogs seemed to come out of the gate with the momentum, it was quickly lost after a pair of early interceptions turned into 14 points for Alabama, which only continued to build upon its lead. The Crimson Tide defense also looked far more up to snuff than it did in the previous week, holding the Bulldogs to just nine points on offense.
Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach met with the media to discuss the team's loss as it dropped to 3-3 this weekend.
Q: It seemed like Bryce Young remained composed with whatever pressure you threw at him today. What do you think he did so well to stay that way?
ML: First of all, I think we should have gotten home more. The other thing is that we took a couple of bad angles. He's a quick-footed guy and is good in the pocket. I knew he would get out of some of them, but he shouldn't have gotten out of as many as he did.
Q: It seemed like at times there was miscommunication between Will and his receivers where he would throw long, and it would be incomplete. What did you see there? Was it an option route?
ML: No, it was just horrible miscommunication. That's a nice way of putting things and I'm sure that if you put it that way in your article, they would appreciate it. I can't say that is one hundred percent factually correct. I don't think we communicated on offense or defense, and the crazy thing is, we haven't had a problem with that since the very first part of the season and camp. We didn't even have that problem at Kyle Field, and that's one of the most demanding places on earth communication-wise. We didn't communicate well on either side of the ball in my opinion. It's easy to say that Alabama is really good, and that is true. Everyone recruited those guys nationally, but my problem is we didn't play as well as we can and that has to be solved. That comes back on us coaches, and on the players as well. There's a notion that it is just coaches, and it does come back on us because we've got to find a way to reach them, but also players must be tough enough to be reached. The fact of the matter is that we put these guys up on a pedestal, and they got ratcheted up higher than we could execute. We tried to do special things because we thought they were too good. The trouble is your best is always enough because that's all you've got. Manufacturing new methods and techniques because you're scared is not a good approach.
Q: What did you see from Will tonight? How would you assess his performance?
ML: I think he tried extremely hard. We all tried extremely hard tonight, but he did to the point where he threw balls out of character and forced some passes. He was trying to make too much happen, and at about that same time some receivers tried to make too much happen as well to the point that they weren't where they were supposed to be.
Q: What was the cause of the pass rushing from Alabama?
ML: I'm going to have to look at it. I don't think we held the ball very much. I'm going to have to say it's a combination of both, cause I did not think he was as precise in his reads as he could have been. I did not think our receivers were consistently where they were supposed to be; they figured, "Oh, Alabama's really good and they're so superior, we'll just go ahead and invent a route," and invent some route known only to them, not a chance in hell we'll find them, but they go ahead and invent it anyway, it's ridiculous. And I thought that Will played into that too. We've got bad communication and we've got self-inflicted wounds because we tried too hard and tried to do extra and tried to do too many different things, and we should've played better than we did.
Q: What steps do you feel like this program needs to take over the next couple of years in order to beat Alabama?
ML: Well, we just have to keep battling. Keep battling, and keep grinding away. Well, in our case, get older; if you've got a time machine laying around, I could use a year. It would almost be worth a year experience-wise, even though.
Q: How much was the team pressing too hard based on the first drive where they threw an interception and came in and scored?
ML: I think that it was a byproduct of that, because it was bad communication and it was forced, but I don't think it was just that. I think that we worked hard, because we had really good practices all week and we were highly motivated. We're a highly motivated team and we'll play hard. But the other thing is, that tipping point is that we're trying to make too much happen. Then as coaches, we have to find a way to keep the high-intensity and motivation, but also the clarity of mind to just do your job, everybody struggles with that. But that doesn't change the fact that we have to find a way to solve that.