Nick Saban: Florida "is the best team we've played all year"
Alabama has already played six ranked teams this year. But head coach Nick Saban believes Florida will be the best squad they’ve faced so far.
Nick Saban: “We haven’t beaten a team that’s won 10 games all year. We feel this is the best team we’ve played all year.”
— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) December 4, 2015
And even though Alabama will be heavily favored in tomorrow’s SEC Championship Game, Saban knows the best team on paper isn’t always the team that wins.
The Crimson Tide (11-1) will battle the Gators (10-2) in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game. The game will kick off at 4 p.m. ET, and will be shown on CBS.
Saban will be facing one of his former assistants. Florida coach Jim McElwain coached under Saban from 2008-11. Alabama’s coach said he’s proud of the job McElwain has done as the head coach at Colorado State (from 2012-14) and now Florida.
Saban: Jim McElwain is a really serious, attention to detail kind of guy with a fabulous sense of humor. It creates a great balance. — Aaron Suttles (@AaronSuttles) December 4, 2015
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) December 4, 2015
Saban is impressed with Florida’s defense. The Gators are tied for fifth in the nation in total defense, allowing only 283.6 yards per game.
Saban: They’re an outstanding defensive team. The first thing you have to do is protect the ball. Second is prevent negative plays. — Aaron Suttles (@AaronSuttles) December 4, 2015
Saban referred to Florida quarterback Treon Harris as “Trevon Harris.” While he may not know Harris’ first name, Alabama’s head coach knows plenty about his ability. And although Florida’s offense hasn’t scored a lot of points the past several weeks, Saban believes the Gators’ offense has a lot of potential.
Alabama’s coach is concerned about the Gators running trick plays tomorrow.
Saban on trick plays: That’s always a possibility. On defense, you never know what’s coming. — Aaron Suttles (@AaronSuttles) December 4, 2015
While a lot of people believe Alabama is the best team in the SEC and the nation, Saban acknowledged that the Crimson Tide needed some outside help to get to Atlanta. Ole Miss was in position to represent the SEC West a few weeks ago, but then the Rebels lost 53-52 to Arkansas in one of the most exciting games of the year. That gave Alabama a chance to play for the SEC title.
Saban was asked about longtime defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who will reportedly become Georgia’s next head coach. Saban has refused to comment about Smart leaving, but he was happy to praise the job his defensive coordinator has done at Alabama. He said Smart understands the game of football on both sides of the ball. He claimed Smart had been an outstanding leader, and said he’d been as loyal and good an assistant as he’s had.
Alabama’s head coach also said the legacy of the 2015 Crimson Tide will be determined by how they finish this season.