What they said after the game: Alabama at Arkansas
From Arkansas sports information:
ARKANSAS HEAD COACH QUOTES
Arkansas Head Coach Bret Bielema: “I can’t put into words how proud I am of our guys. As a coach, when you sign up for this, I came in here with a dream and an idea to do something and it’s coming. I can guarantee it’s coming. The part I wish I could do, I wish I could thank every fan that was in that stadium, every person that watched it on TV, every individual that invested to help us have a great environment, it was awesome. Our kids put in a lot to get to where they are today. We obviously missed an opportunity to convert a PAT we got blocked. We had a high snap on a field goal and just a couple of plays defensively we broke down on. Offensively, did a lot of really good things – AJ Derby’s big play and the running backs kept bouncing back. I thought our o-line – that’s a very good front they were playing against – and did a lot of really good things. We’ll take today as a learning opportunity. It was really good to get Demetrius Wilson back in there. We’ll just continue to build our roster. I think we’re getting stronger by the day and the more players we get, the more players we develop, the better we’ll be in the fourth quarter. Give a lot of credit to Alabama, good football team. The SEC West is very difficult, and I’m excited to be in it every day.”
Bielema on the decision to go for it on fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter: “It was a long one but we went with a play similar to what we ran two weeks ago against A&M. They ran a pressure right into it, which we should all have sealed down and gotten the bounce outside. I just felt as a coach, you call fourth and one when you believe that you have a chance to convert. I thought our defense responded very, very well.”
Bielema on the play of Arkansas’ defense: “I can’t give enough credit to Robb (Smith) and Clay (Jennings), Rory (Segrest) and Randy (Shannon). Guys invest a lot into it defensively and I think they knew they were up for a big challenge. Alabama does a lot of different things with the same personnel, so there’s a lot of communication out there. A lot of really positive things and things we can still improve on.”
ARKANSAS OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
Arkansas Offensive Lineman Brey Cook on the 4th and 1 play: “It’s embarrassing as an offensive line to not come up with something that’s so critical for our team and so critical for this game. We dropped the ball and we couldn’t do it and that’s something that we have to look forward to going into the future.
Cook on the loss: “This one sucks, it’s one we wanted. We can learn a lot from today, come back, watch the film and come back 1-0. We got a big game against Georgia in Little Rock and it’s time to look forward and turn the page.
Arkansas Tight End Hunter Henry on the emotion in the locker room: “It hurts and sucks. You work so hard and put so much time in and you are just that close two games in a row, it just hurts.”
Hunter on the offense in the 4th quarter: “We just weren’t clicking. We got to be better, we have to work on that and we just have to be able to finish, and finish teams.”
Hunter on his long TD reception: “Coach called the play and we got a certain coverage. I knew I was getting the ball when we lined up and BA (Brandon Allen) put it out there and I just went to go get it.”
Arkansas Quarterback Brandon Allen on the loss: “We were so close and there a lot of things we could have done better to win that game and it’s disappointing leaving those things on the field.
ARKANSAS DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
Arkansas Defensive End Trey Flowers on the outcome: “Obviously we had an opportunity at the end but we also had opportunities all throughout. We left some plays out there on the field.”
Flowers on how close the team is to getting an SEC win: “We are very close. It’s closer than y’all see. Like I said, the fourth quarter kind of bit us again this week. We are going to keep on working and keep on doing what we are doing. We are headed in the right direction.”
Arkansas Safety Alan Turner on the game: “It’s another hard one. It slipped away from us. They were able to make more plays and pull out the win.”
Turner on how tough the loss was: “To me, an “L” is an “L”. We work so hard during the week and to see it not pay off, it hurt us. At the same time, we know we are headed in the right direction. It’s not coming the way we would like it to, we still have not gotten a win but we know we are headed in the right direction. If we keep pushing forward, the win is going to come.”
ALABAMA HEAD COACH QUOTES
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban: “First of all, I’m really proud of our players, coaches and everybody for the job that they did tonight. The things we wanted to do today were to play harder than the other team, compete and be more relentless than the other team and do a better job of executing, which is a part of the job we didn’t do well at. But from an intangibles standpoint, our players really played hard and overcame a lot of adversity. We made a lot of mistakes in this game, which caused the adversity, but we were able to overcome it. The defense did a phenomenal job of stopping their running game, struggled at times to get off the field on third down, but did it towards the end of the game when we needed them to. There are a lot of things that we can correct and a lot of things we can get better at, but when your players play with the kind of heart we did tonight, you got to be really proud of them. We can get better at the things that we didn’t do well. We certainly struggled offensively and we will fix that.”
“Arkansas has got a good team, they really do. They are better than people think. They were up 28-14 on Texas A&M in the fourth quarter. Our guys did a really good today stopping their running game. Defensively for them, they did a really good job. Their quickness up front really affected us, we missed some blocking assignments throughout the night and couldn’t finish blocks like we wanted too. We dodged a bullet early, we only had six plays in the first quarter, got some huge stops on defense to get out of things. We want to build on the momentum of this win. Obviously our team was disappointed and responded well to what happened a week ago. It’s tough on the road in this league and our division is really difficult so there are no easy games. I’m really proud of the way our players competed tonight and played towards the end and they did a fantastic job.”
Saban on problems in the punting game: “We have two really good punt returners, and we’ve had at least three bad punts hit players before it can get to them. The returners misplayed the ball twice tonight, one we lost. We practice this stuff all the time, and I think our returners need to do a better job of letting everyone else know where the ball is. They give the signal to get away from the ball, but they do not know where it is, so we have to get that corrected.”
Saban on limited Arkansas’ rushing game: “There formation really makes it difficult to pressure them or give them bad plays. We really stopped the run by playing straight up with our 3-4 defense. Our guys upfront did a good job in tackling. There was a moment towards the end of the first half where we had a chance to get the ball with good field position, they run a draw play for about 15 yards. Some of their yards rushing came on quarterback scrambles. Our defense did a great job on their running game, and again it was primarily because we stayed in our base 3-4.
Saban on Brandon Allen’s play: “Their quarterback did a really good job for them. He’s played well for them all year, and tonight he made some good throws and reads. There were a few times we had him sacked in the pocket and he scrambled out of it, sometimes for positive yardage and other times found people open.
Saban on ball security issues: “The ball security issues in this game to me, were not out the runners or the receivers fumbling the ball, it mostly came on punts. We had a guy misplay a punt, another hit a player, and a guy tries to pick the ball up off the ground and fumbles it away. All of those were poor decisions made by good players who I have a lot of confidence in. They’ve been good decision makers in the past, and I think sometimes they want to make a play so bad that they push it a little too hard and get anxious then make poor judgments. One of these days we are going to focus enough on it in practice that they won’t happen in games, but I’m not giving up on these guys, I promise you that.”