Five quick hits from today's press conference with Alabama head coach Nick Saban:
1. In his opening statement Monday morning, Alabama head coach Nick Saban said that no matter what happened the last two weeks, the Crimson Tide needs to learn lessons from the LSU and Texas A&M games and move forward.
“No matter how you cut the mustard, whether we won both of the last two games or lost both of the last two games, I don’t think we executed as well as a football team,” he said. “I know the questions are, Why didn’t you do this? Why didn’t you do that? Why didn’t we call this play? Why didn’t we call that play?
“But it still goes back to why are we even in that situation relative to how we played the rest of the game?”
Which is a good point considering Alabama didn’t start revving up its energy levels until it was down 20-0 Saturday. Where was the intensity at the start of the game?
2. Saban said even though Alabama beat LSU, he didn't think his team played well against the Tigers or the Aggies.
“You guys don’t think so because we won one and lost the other one,” he said. “If we’d won this one, you wouldn’t be concerned. I was concerned then, but you all live in the results world, we live in the process world.
“It’s kind of the Bluegrass Miracle phenomenon. You play bad, you win the game, then the next week you get your ass kicked because nobody responded to playing bad. Because you won the Bluegrass Miracle.”
3. The Alabama coach said of course everyone is upset about the loss, but the only thing that can be done is move on.
“I catch it from everybody—my wife’s mad, my kids are upset, everybody. I am, too,” Saban said. “But how am I going to affect everybody around me so that we respond the right way to the circumstance that we’re in? It’s keeping the focus on the vision of what you want to accomplish, not the circumstance.
“Last week, too many people, too many circumstances, maybe too many interviews, maybe too much why am I not playing more. It could be a lot of things, but that’s not the vision of this team.”
4. Before Alabama lost to Texas A&M, A.J. McCarron was interception-free through 289 pass attempts. But that impressive streak came to an end at 291.
But it’s not just that stat that makes one wonder if McCarron has hit a plateau. In the month of November, he is completing just 57.4 percent of his passes (78th in the nation) with a passing efficiency rating of 126.91 (70th). Before playing the Tigers and Aggies, he had the nation’s best rating.
“I think that the kind of competitor AJ is, my expectation would be that he takes the bull by the horns, learns the lessons he’s learned in the last two games and tries to work on improving,” Saban said. “I don’t think there’s any reason to say that he’s reached a plateau. I think he needs to break through and continue to improve and not be satisfied where he is, and get the players around him to help him do that.”
5. Injury report: Cornerback John Fulton, who started on Saturday and made five tackles and a career-high four pass break-ups and was named a player of the week by the Alabama coaching staff, has turf toe.
“He actually finished the game with it,” Saban said. “It really swelled up quite a bit and all that. He may be very questionable for this [weekend’s] game.”
Saban was also asked about true freshman wide receiver Chris Black, who has been out all season after injuring his shoulder and then having surgery back in August. Black was practicing all last week while wearing a black no-contact jersey. The coach said Black has been cleared for activity, but not for contact.
“Maybe in another month or so he would be cleared for contact then we could make some decision,” Saban said. “I think it might be kind of foolish to play him because it would probably be a bowl game only type of thing. But we’ll make that decision when the time comes. It’s a medical decision right now.”
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