Nick Saban met with the media prior to practice on Monday afternoon. Following is his opening statement:

“Reviewing the last game, we showed that when we play with discipline and execution, give effort, be physical, finish plays and play with the kind of toughness that we’re looking for to create the identity that we want as a team, we’re a pretty good team. Obviously the key to that is to do that with consistency play in and play out in a game, as well as game in and game out during the season. I think that’s going to be the point of emphasis that we want to try and show our players: good plays that we did very well as those things were apparent, and on some plays that we didn’t do so well, it wasn’t apparent.

“Obviously this is a rivalry game, it means a lot to a lot of people, including the people in this organization and the people that play in this game. We’ve had some real struggles at times with this team and this is a team we have a lot of respect for. Butch Jones has done a nice job there. This team could very easily be 5-1, they lost two games on the last play of the game basically or it came down to the last play of the game whether they scored or gave up a score. They’ve got good players. They’ve got a really good running back in (John) Kelly, who’s one of the top rushers in the SEC. Their defense, especially the secondary, has played really well as they’re the top ranked pass defense in the SEC and one of the top ranked pass defenses in the country. They do a good job with their schemes on both sides of the ball and on special teams.

“We have a lot of respect for this team and what we’ll have to do and how we’ll have to play to be able to have success against this team. With rivalry games, you can pretty much throw out the record book, throw out the records of the team, throw out what happened last year, throw out what happened so far this year and make sure that you’re ready to play your best game when you play in these type of games.”