What Nick Saban said after Alabama's blowout win over Kentucky
The Alabama Crimson Tide absolutely destroyed Kentucky Saturday in Tuscaloosa 63-3.
That marked Kentucky’s 5th worst loss in program history.
Mac Jones threw for 2 touchdowns, and DeVonta Smith set a new SEC record with 33 career touchdown receptions.
Below is everything Nick Saban said following the win over Kentucky:
“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 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 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.”
YOUNG PLAYERS GETTING PLAYING TIME
“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.”
ADJUSTMENTS MADE FOR KENTUCKY’S OFFENSE
“A lot of the things that they hit runs on us, 10-12 yard runs, we miss fit 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.”
ON KENTUCKY WINNING TIME OF POSSESSION
“We knew that was the kind of game that they were gonna play. I think I mentioned that even in my press conferences that they run the ball, shrink the game, try to minimize the number of possessions that we had on offense. It was gonna be really important that we control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. We didn’t do that in the beginning of the game. We couldn’t run the ball. All the plays that we made early in the game were pass plays, and we weren’t very effective at stopping their runs so they didn’t keep the ball.
“But the last time I checked, you get nothing for time of possession. So, that means you score fast on offense, you don’t have very much time of possession. If you don’t score and you keep the ball for six minutes and you don’t score, what do you get for that? Is there something you get for that? I don’t know. But we don’t want it to be that way, but we make a lot of explosive plays on offense, so sometimes we score fast. Our time of possession hasn’t been in our favor and very many games all year, but we score a lot of points.”
ON LANDON DICKERSON
“Landon’s toughness, his leadership, his competitive attitude, his character as a competitor, I mean, he brings it every day. When he walks out of the tunnel, you know he’s gonna bring it, and I think he affects the other guys in a very positive way. I’ve been very pleased with the way our offensive line has played all year long. We struggled early in the game to run the ball, but those guys made adjustments and adapted and got better as the game wore on.”
ON JAHLEEL BILLINGSLEY
“He got to take a lot of reps this week because Miller was out. Jahleel is a really good athlete. He’s a really good receiver. The main thing is consistency in performance with him. Every day, he’s gotta go out there and do things a certain way that we can trust him and depend on him. He had a really good week of practice, and he played really well in the game today, made a couple of really nice catches. A very athletic guy. We need more guys like him that are playmaker types to be able to step up and play. Maybe this game today will give him some confidence. Character, doing the right thing really gives you confidence, so maybe this will be able to help him build on that consistency that he needs to really contribute down the road.”
ON MAC JONES
“No disrespect to Mac, but we’re getting a little greedy. The guy had Smitty cut off. I call them ‘hope throws.’ The guy’s got him covered so we’re gonna throw it up anyway and hope he catches it. So, the guy made a good play. The guy’s a good player. Their No. 1 is a good player, and he was trying to keep us cut off, which is how we thought they would play. The whole thing going into the game is you’ve gotta take what the defense gives, take what the defense gives, throw the checkdown if they’ve got us cut off and covered in the deep part of the field. That’s basically what happened. We don’t want to be throwing those kind of balls.”
ON THE DEFENSE’S DISCIPLINE AGAINST THE RUN
“I don’t think they were playing with a lack of discipline in the beginning of the game. I think they made some mental errors in gap fits and getting off blocks. I think everybody was trying. I think they were working hard to do the right things. We didn’t have as many penalties, which I will agree with you on that — the discipline in that regard was much better. We didn’t jump offsides on hard counts and things like that. Once we settled into the game, I thought we played with really good focus and everybody did their job well and we played really good team defense. That’s everybody doing their job. That’s where that comes from, and you’ve gotta have discipline to do that.”
ON DEVONTA SMITH
“I don’t think there’s anybody who holds up the core values of the program and reinforces those core values to other players on the team any better than Smitty does. First of all, he sets a great example, he’s got great work ethic, but he’s not afraid to take a guy one-on-one and talk to him about what he can do to improve or why we do some of the things that we do and how it can benefit them in the future. Smitty came back because he wanted to have a great, productive year. He wanted to get a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger and improve his draft status. And I certainly think he’s demonstrating that in a really, really positive way so far this year.”