Nick Saban met with the media prior to practice on Monday afternoon. Following is his opening statement:
“The players really played hard and competed well in this last game. The effort was really good along with the toughness that we played with. I liked the competitive spirit that we had in the game to overcome adversity. Those were all things that I was very encouraged by, very pleased with and very proud of. The execution, play in and play out, fundamentally, was not where we want it to be and not where it needs to be. Certainly, this leads to a lack of consistency, whether you’re playing offense, defense or special teams. The fact of the matter is that we didn’t make as many errors as they made in the game, which was probably the difference in the game, whether they were special teams or whatever you might want to call it. The major goal for us is to focus on the importance of improvement between the first and second game. That’s always something that every team has a great opportunity to maybe improve as much as any time all year long (from week one to week two).
“With players of the week, I think you got that information. With injury updates, Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis will be out for the year. Both of them have season-ending surgeries coming up. Rashaan Evans and Anfernee Jennings both have significant injuries that won’t be long-term. We’ll list them as questionable, so they’ll be day-to-day, but it’s uncertain as to when they’ll be able to come back and play. We’re hopeful that it will be sooner than later.
“We’re looking forward to coming back and playing at home. This is a great opportunity for our players; I know how much they love playing in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Our fans are always very supportive. Their passion, energy and enthusiasm is something that is special in college football, and we always look forward to that.
“On another note, Mike Locksley, our wide receivers coach and assistant offensive coordinator, had a family tragedy – his son was killed. I just want everybody to understand that our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike, Ms. Kia and the entire Locksley family over this tragedy. We’ll do everything that we can to support Mike and his family in this time of tragedy.
“With Fresno State, Jeff Tedford is one of the best coaches offensively in the country. He was the head coach at Cal for many years, won lots of games and went to lots of bowl games. Fresno State returns lots of starters – nine on offense, six on defense and a couple specialists. This is a much-improved team; they played really well and looked really good in their opening game, where they scored 66 points and shut the other team out. They’ve got a good quarterback, they’ve got a couple good receivers and they’ve got some good players on defense. This is going to be a different kind of challenge for us and something our players will have to respond to because this a much-improved team.”