Everything Nick Saban said after Alabama's A-Day Game
ByCharlie Potter 84 minutes ago
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama head coach Nick Saban spoke to reporters Saturday following the Crimson Tide's annual A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Below is everything Saban said after the White team's 31-17 win over the Crimson team in his final press conference of the spring.
Calls out media coaches
“Who were the winning coaches of the White team? And how about the losing coaches? I’ve got some questions for you, aight. You’ve got the player of the year in college football on your team. You’ve got the guy that won the Biletnikoff playing receiver, aight. You’ve got more guys coming back on offense than probably any team in the country. What went wrong? I mean this is the kind of shit you ask me all the time. What went wrong? So, is that the players’ fault or are you responsible for that as a coach or what? I mean, you’ve got to take responsibility for what your team did. He’s not willing to do that, he’s just not willing to do it.”
Real opening statement
“I do think we had a good spring. I like the team dynamic we have on this team. Lots of guys work hard and try to do the right things. They support each other. We don’t have any guys pulling anybody down in terms of their work ethic or how they go about their work. They try to support each other. There’s a lot of good competition out there.
“But look, the difference in the game is the red team drops the ball on 3rd and 2 in the red zone, aight, so they left four points off the board. Next time they are going two minute, guy drops a pass, makes a first down, drops a pass and the other team gets the ball, goes two minutes and scores a touchdown. So, you took an opportunity away from yourself to be able to score and let the other team go score, aight. So, that’s like a 10-point swing in the game. And the game is completely different.
“Also, too many turnovers in the game. Something that we have to get fixed and people have to take care of the ball. I don’t care what the defense is playing, we simplified the game out there. I don’t care what play we have on offense, you’ve got to take care of the ball. I thought that it’s going to be critical for us and I know we had a few offensive linemen out, Matt Womack hurt his shoulder a little bit, so he was out. Jed (Wills) was already out, aight. So, we didn’t have a full complementary offensive lineman, I get that, aight. But we have to be able to run the football better than what we demonstrated in this game. On either side or both sides of the ball, aight.
“But the most important thing about this is if spring practice was a test, it would be like the test you took at the beginning of the semester, beginning of your class, aight. That test tells you exactly what you need to do throughout the course of the summer and fall camp, aight, to get ready to make the good grade on the final, which is coming up at the end of the semester That’s basically what spring ball does. How many guys know what to do? How many guys go out on the field and do it with some kind of consistency in performance and give effort, play with toughness and good intangibles, be accountable to do their job? So, that’s basically it. Whatever it is, everybody has to believe the truth about where they are. That’s the only way to improve and that’s what we will try to do as a team.
“In the next few days we will meet with every player on the team. We’ll go over their strengths and weaknesses, what they need to work on so they have a chance to improve and each individual has a chance to improve over the summer. That’s the next goal that we have. Other than that, you guys know the players that were hurt. We have a few players that probably will need to do some medical stuff between now and when we start summer conditioning. We give everybody exit physicals and try to get everybody in the best healthy situation that we can. We do have a couple shoulders that will probably need to get scoped.”
On Mac Jones
How’d you feel about the way Mac Jones played today and bounced back after the early interception?
“I thought Mac did fine. The good news is is that’s one of the biggest things that Mac has to learn to overcome is when he has a bad play he kind of hangs on to it for a while and he doesn’t always go to the next play. I think he did that well today. Look, these spring games, don’t read too much into it. The good guys played against the good guys. So, the coverage was tighter, the tackling was better, everything was better when the ones were playing against the ones. When the twos were playing against the twos, not quite so much. So some plays get made because the guy’s open, the windows are bigger. Mac played well. He took advantage of those situations. But I don’t think you can read too much into how guys did in the game because you have to look at it to playing at the level of the comp when you look at a player. Who’s he playing against? That makes a difference in how successful they are. So, I think you’ve got to look into that a little bit in terms of some of today’s performances, as well.”
On Taulia Tagovailoa, Paul Tyson
Keeping with that theme, what did you see from the two freshman quarterbacks in terms of their composure, the moment and playing on that stage for the first time?
“There was some anxiety out there. Taulia threw a pick for a pick-six, but I thought he did some things well. He’s sort of naturally instinctive and made some quick decisions. Paul’s a little bit more anxious in terms I think he knows what to do. I think there’s a little anxiety there sometimes, and it’s not really good for performance when you have a lot of anxiety. So, these guys have to learn, grow and develop, and we’ll just continue to work with them. We’re excited to have them all here and think they can improve and become pretty good players for us.”
On John Metchie
What did you see from John Metchie and the young receivers on the White team today?
“He did a good job. But again, what’s the level of comp, you know? I mean, would he catch all of those passes if 2 or 7 or somebody’s covering him? I don’t know, aight. But when he does that, then that’s good. But relative to what he had to do today, he did an outstanding job. He made some good catches, didn’t drop the ball. He plays fast. He’s got some strength. I think this guy’s going to help us next year, and I think he’ll be a good player for us.
“I’m only saying this, aight, because you all have a tendency to make somebody a star, aight,” Saban said after a pause. “And when you do that, you create a problem for us as coaches. Do you understand that? So, can just make sure we’re just -- it is what it is and let’s not go down that road after one spring game. Does that make sense to anybody besides me? I mean, you’ve got four coaches in the room now. You can talk to them about it. You can have a coaching meeting with them, and they’ll tell you what it is, how it is.”
On Tua Tagovailoa's velocity
How would you assess Tua’s performance today? Particularly the strength and velocity he showed on the throws, as well as the accuracy?
“Tua’s great. Why wouldn’t he have strength and velocity? Is there something wrong with him? There’s nothing wrong with him. He had some balls dropped. I’m sure he would like to take back some throws. But the Crimson team kind of got themselves in a hole right before the half, the turn of events, and then a pick-six right afterwards. So, tough. Paul had one of those. But Tua’s fine. Tua’s been fine all spring.
“I wish y’all would quit trying to make something out of nothing because there’s nothing to make out of it. Why don’t you go talk to Dr. Cain, aight, and all those people, aight, because you obviously don’t believe me. I try to have honesty and integrity with you folks as much as I can, but you don’t believe me. So, go talk to Dr. Cain, go talk to Jeff Allen. You keep trying to make something out of nothing. There’s nothing wrong with the guy. He can run fast, he can do everything. He went through the offseason program. So, I thought he threw the ball with great velocity just like he did before, and I don’t see any difference. Do you? You have an opinion, you’re allowed to have an opinion. We’ll make you coach next year and we’ll ask you questions in a press conference. I mean, I want to know what they told the Crimson team at halftime. Obviously, it didn’t do a damn bit of good. That’s what you always ask me at the press conference. Every press conference -- ‘What did you tell them at halftime?’ Well, I want to know what they told them at halftime. It didn’t do a damn bit of good.”
On A-Day game plan
How do you evaluate Steve Sarkisian and the game plan he put together today?
“We didn’t have a game plan today. We had the simplest offense and the simplest defense that we could possibly have so that more players could play and the people that we play next year will not watch our game on ESPN and say, ‘Oh, let us do a game plan for all this stuff that they’re going to do.’ I mean, you and your crack colleagues that were coaches today, they figured that shit out.”
On his hip issues
“I have one announcement to make. I’ve been struggling a little bit with one of my hips, and even though they don’t make them like they used to and most players would not to be able to perform in spring practice like I did if they had a similar situation, but nobody could even tell, but I might not be able to play golf for a few weeks. We’re going to do an evaluation of this at the end of spring, but they say even if it’s the worst case scenario, it may be six or eight weeks. But I can still cut a rug and cut them off, I can do whatever I need to do. I can still play golf. But this has a little bothersome, and I don’t want to go into the fall with this being a problem.
“I want to get it fixed because I don’t want to coach for one more year, I want to coach for a lot of more years. So, whenever things like this come up, I want to be aggressive and proactive to try and get it taken care of. We’ll certainly do that, and we’ve got really good people to do it. I don’t think it should be a big deal, but I’ve been keeping this a little bit of a secret because I have so much respect for this group (of reporters). I wanted you to be the first to know. Thank you.”