Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Saban discusses progression of team, keys to SEC Championship

A day before the biggest game of his players’ season, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is still reflecting on the progress his team has made to earn a spot in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

The progress his team made is certainly no small feat: Even after his defense lost four defensive starters in the first 35 picks of the NFL Draft, not to mention the No. 3 overall pick in Trent Richardson, his team, yet again, is on the cusp of a national title, as well as an SEC title. Still, Saban said the progress his team has made hasn’t been limited to growth between seasons. Since the Tide’s season opener against Michigan in Arlington, Texas, and especially after its first loss of the season to Texas A&M, Saban said he’s seen excellent growth from his team.

“I’ve been very pleased with what this team has been able to accomplish,” Saban said. “I think the thing that has been most pleasing is the way this team has bought into the principles and values of being a good team, being positive, affecting each other with positive energy and attitude, being responsible….”

With that said, Saban acknowledged the importance of his team focusing on the game at hand, rather than how the team got there in the first place.

“I heard Michael Jordan say this,” Saban said. “’I don’t care how many game-winning shots I’ve ever made, how many games I’ve won with game-winning shots, the one I’m getting ready to take right now is the only one that matters….’ That’s kind of the way it is.”

Saban said the game against Georgia would mark numerous challenges for his team, starting with how the defense can handle quarterback Aaron Murray.

For Saban, the outcome of his defense’s success will come down to whether it can pressure Murray with a four-man rush, allowing the secondary to make better plays on the ball.

“I think the key to being successful is that you can create a pass rush with four guys,” Saban said. “You can affect the quarterback with four guys.

“I think if you don’t do that, if you don’t do that on a fairly consistent basis, a good quarterback, which Aaron Murray certainly is, is going to have the time to find the open receivers….”

Saban noted Georgia’s offense wasn’t the only dangerous aspect of the team, however. He also mentioned how the Georgia defense, particularly its pass rush, could create some potential problems for Alabama.

“They’ve got a lot of good players,” Saban said. “They’ve got a lot of experienced players that have played for a couple of years now, together. I think they’ve got some really good speed guys on defense.”

Regardless of the potential difficulties posed by Georgia, however, Saban said his team shouldn’t worry about the opposing team, but focus on continuing to do what it did to get to the game in the first place.

“When you become outcome-oriented, you become tentative,” Saban said. “I think the most challenging thing we have to do to continue to play with success is focus on what’s happening right now.”

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