10/24/20 MFB Alabama vs Tennessee Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban Photo by Kent Gidley

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban

Opening Statement:

“I think everybody was excited to get back to be able to play, after all the time off. I think we got off to a little slow start. The energy, the intensity, the attention to detail early on in the game was not what we wanted it to be, but I think we played better and better and better as the game went on.

 

“We made some mental errors on defense early in the game in shifts and motions and some things that we had worked on. It was just a recognition deal.

 

“Offensively, I think we played better and better as the game went on so really pleased with the way our players responded in the game. Obviously, congratulations to Smitty (DeVonta Smith) for setting the record for touchdown receptions.

 

“I think one of the good things about today’s game is we got to play a lot of players. They definitely need to get some experience. Those guys aren’t that far away from playing. We did have some guys out today, but I think especially on special teams where people had to step up they did a really good job. I know you are going to ask me about Miller Forristall. He has a sprained ankle, a little bit of a shoulder. He could have played today. I just decided and told him, ‘We will play you in an emergency, if we need you. We need to get you healthy.’ Those other guys have been taking most of the reps in practice this week, so it gave them an opportunity to play. Some of them made some pretty good plays.

 

“All in all it was a good team win. I really liked the way the defense played in the second half. We just have to keep on building on this momentum and rhythm that we have, get some guys healthy and see if we can get going. Slade (Bolden) twisted his ankle a little bit. Don’t know what his status will be, but I don’t think it will be that bad but we don’t know for sure.”

 

On seeing the younger guys getting playing time and succeeding:

“I think it is always great when those kids get an opportunity to play. I think the experience is very beneficial to them. It is also very positive for them to get the self-gratification that they get when they throw a touchdown pass or score a touchdown. I think that the players on the team really kind of demonstrate the emotion that everybody has when those young guys do something because everybody is rooting for them. Everybody wants to see them do well. It’s great for them that they get the opportunity, and it makes me really happy to see them go out there and have production. Everybody wants to score a touchdown, and I think that’s great.”

 

On the adjustments they made to Kentucky’s offense:

“A lot of the things that they hit runs on us, 10-12 yard runs, we miss picked the gaps. We made some mental errors on shifts or motions. We didn’t adjust properly, so they would hit a run and we would lose the edge, we wouldn’t be in our gap. I think as the game went on, the players got more used to the rhythm of the game, the shifts and the motions, making the adjustments. We were making corrections on the sideline and it really is a lot of the stuff we worked on. It was just a matter of being a little bit apprehensive to just do what they knew was right in the game. When we fixed those things, we started to play much better and did a better job on third down. We started to play better in the second quarter, but they converted a couple third downs and kept drives alive. We did a better job all the way around in the second half.”

 

Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops

On the injuries and COVID issues they had to work through this week and what that looks like for next week:

“I really don’t know. I have no idea what that looks like. You know, we do some more tests and see how they come back. It’s difficult to practice in game play and guys and find out on Friday morning before you get on the plane that you’re not going to have some. But it is what it is. I think everyone in the country is dealing with it, and this is not the team or the place that you want to come to down some guys.”

 

On Alabama:

“They are everything that you think they are when you see them in person. They can play physical, big strong backs with a physical line, and they are explosive getting the ball down the field. Their receivers catch everything that is even remotely close to them. You know, very good team.”