THE MODERATOR: We’re going to get started with Coach Saban. If you have questions,
please raise your hand. We have mics on either side of the room. Raise your hand. We’ll point
them out. We’ll open the floor with a statement from Coach Saban and then we’ll take some
COACH SABAN: Well, I think that if you look at the results of today’s game, you have to
be pleased that we’re able to win. I think there’s a lot of good things that we did. But I also
think that there’s a lot of things that we need to fix.
So as a coach, you always think more about the things you need to fix than the things
that you did well. So I don’t want anybody here to think that I’m not pleased, you know, with
the effort of our players, the intensity that they played with. We executed very well on a lot of
plays. And I’m really, really proud of the way the team came out and played and executed in
But I also think that it’s pretty obvious that we had way too many penalties, a lot of
undisciplined-type penalties, and if you look at the challenges of the season ahead — and I
watched TV today. Did anybody else watch TV today? There’s a lot of good teams in our
league. I watched TVs for the last couple of days. There’s a lot of really good teams in our
And if we’re going to meet the challenges of the future, we need to do a lot of these
things a lot better and way too many mental errors, really on both sides of the ball, but more
on defense. And you know, undisciplined-type penalties, basically gave the team a
touchdown, just gave them a touchdown, stopped them on third down twice and had
penalties two times in a row. I mean, you do that against a good team in a close game, you
know what’s going to happen.
So we need to get all that stuff fixed and we need to focus on the challenges of the
season and the teams that we’ve got to play in the future and what we need to do to improve.
So we always have 24 hours to enjoy the game, and I certainly want the players to do that. I
mean, they can wear their sweats home tonight and they can be happy for 24 hours but we’ve
got lots of work to do. We’ve got a lot of things that we need to clean up. We’ve got a lot of
things we need to improve.
I thought special teams was really good in the game but also we take a touchdown off
the board because we hit somebody in the back — and we hit them in the back. And it was a
bad decision to hit them in the back and it wasn’t even a block we needed to make for the guy
to run for a touchdown. So if I sound a little bit pissed, you’re right. I am. All right? So you
know, be careful.
THE MODERATOR: All right. We’ll take some questions. Raise your hand, please. We’ll
start down here.
- When did you make your final determination on what the plan was for the
quarterbacks and when did you have the conversation with them and let them know what
the plan was?
COACH SABAN: I talked to the quarterbacks Thursday before practice. And they both
knew exactly what the situation would be in the game. It’s how we practiced on Thursday.
And you know, I wanted Tua to play somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 plays and then
we’re going to put Jalen in the game. It didn’t matter how it went. It didn’t matter what the
And then wanted Jalen to have an opportunity to play. He did some good things and
some things, you know, we need to do better. Both of them. And, you know, we wanted Tua
to get the experience to go on two-minute, you know, right before the half, so we put him
back in there because he hadn’t had much experience doing that. And, you know, Jalen got to
play some in the second half and made a couple good throws, but, you know, we got to be
able to execute and do what you’re coached to do. That’s the No. 1 thing.
And, you know, we’re going to continue to have both these guys be weapons for us on
offense because I think they can. And I hope both guys can do a good job of preparing and
managing to get ready for the game so that they can contribute to our team in a positive way.
- Coach, what impressed you the most about Tua’s play overall?
COACH SABAN: Tua played well and made some really good throws — I mean, really
good throws, very accurate throws, put the ball right on guys. When they had halfway decent
coverage, he made good decisions for the most part.
We’ve got him to get — get him to get two hands on the ball. He’s too loose with the
ball in the pocket, and he’s going to get the ball knocked out of his hand. You know, those are
the kind of things that I’m talking about that doesn’t get you till it gets you. So you’ve got to fix
them before it gets you.
But he played well. I think he executed. He did what he was supposed to do. He read
the right thing. He was well prepared in the game. I think the offensive coaches did a really
good job of preparing for what they were going to see, we pretty much saw what we thought
we were going to see, and for the most part did a pretty good job of executing against it.
- Do you have an update on Mack Wilson and maybe any of the other guys that
got injured in the game?
COACH SABAN: We don’t have any significant injuries. You know, Mack Wilson could
have went back and played in the game. We just chose not to put him in. I think the score was
40-7 or something. We were getting ready to play some other players so that’s, you know, a
good thing that we’re able to do today.
We got a lot of really young players that are in backup positions, so for them to go out
and play today was a good thing. They made some mistakes, too, which, you know, led to the
last score. So — but they’ll learn from it and get better.
- Brian VanGorder looked like he was trying to pressure you guys a lot earlier.
How do you think Tua handled those decisions when he was under a lot of pressure?
COACH SABAN: I think he did a pretty good job. I mean, Tua does a really good job of
keeping his eyes down the field when he’s scrambling in the pocket. I mean, the first
touchdown was pretty amazing to be able to move in the pocket that way and still keep your
eyes down field and throw the ball, you know, to a guy like that, and he’s capable of making
those kinds of plays. Some guys when they start to scramble, their eyes go down. They can’t
see down the field anymore so they’re stuck running.
So anyway, I thought he handled the pressure well. I thought we had a good plan to
handle it. I think he recognized it for the most part. And I’m sure when we watch the film,
we’ll see some things that we could have done better.
Q. What did you think about the secondary and how they performed against a
quarterback who was able to throw the ball down the field pretty well?
COACH SABAN: You know, we didn’t give up a lot of big plays and the mental errors
were made mostly on pressure. And, you know, I thought we made some mental errors in the
secondary. When you see a guy running wide open and nobody’s around him, that means
somebody messed up. Because we don’t have any defenses where a guy doesn’t get covered.
We don’t have any. Everybody’s got somebody. So when you see that happen, and it
happened about three times today, somebody’s messed up.
So, you know, what we were able to do in the second half and some of these errors
were — we’re trying to get somebody else who can play star. And we have been really trying
to work Diggs there. We worked Patrick Surtain there for a long time. It’s really probably too
much for a freshman to try to play two positions, so we got to play Trevon there in the second
half. It’s his first time he ever played. A couple times they went on motion and he was a little
uncertain about what to do.
But I think we’re going to learn a lot about that. You know, I thought Deionte
Thompson had some good breaks on the ball and I thought we played some pretty close
man-to-man for the most part.
You know, they’re receivers. They talked about how they were supposed to be pretty
good so I was really sort of pleased with the way we covered. I wasn’t always pleased with
some of the mental errors that we made.
- What did you see from Josh Jacobs, especially on the special teams with the
COACH SABAN: I think I saw the same thing you saw. Did pretty good. We’ve known
he’s always been an explosive kickoff returner. You know, I thought he did a great job on
I think Jeff Bank has done a really good job of getting our players to buy in to some of
the things that we’re doing on special teams and it certainly showed today in some pump
returns, the one that got called back, but we had some other positive returns as well.
I think Jaylen Waddle did a nice job of that for a freshman to be back there on punts,
handled it, you know, really well. And, you know, Josh is really good — did a really good job on
kickoff return. It’s always great to take one back.
- The six new coaches, new coordinators, how did that go tonight, having so
many new guys on the staff?
COACH SABAN: Most of the time pretty well. You know, there was some — couple
things I thought we did that, in the heat of the moment, maybe weren’t the kind of choices
and decisions that we should have made. But I think it was good learning experience for us as
a staff, working together. But for the most part, it went pretty well.
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