Mercer coach Drew Cronic knew his team would have its hands full Saturday playing on the road against top-ranked Alabama.

The Bears lost 48-14 but did some good things in the game, and more than anything, given how good he knew Alabama was, Cronic was pleased with the way his players competed.

“Our kids were going to be excited to play this game. It was a blessing to play this game,” Cronic said. “To put yourself out there and see if you can compete, that’s what we talked about. I don’t blow smoke at them. I tell them the truth. They’re better than us. They’re the best team in the country. Can you go hang in there with them? Can you show that you belong on the same field as them? And I felt like some kids did that.”

Cronic also said that he understands when playing a team the caliber of the Crimson Tide, that the big picture sometimes needs to be adjusted.

“You go into a game like this, you just want to find small victories,” he said. “You just want to find ways to improve. Against a team like that, any little mistake gets magnified.”

As for the final outcome, Cronic said that certainly Alabama had a lot to with the 34-point loss, but he also knows that his team made its share of mistakes as well.

“I’m sure we’re going to find some stuff (on film) that had nothing to do with Alabama that we screwed up,” Cronic said. “But then there’s going to be some times when a big dude just whips you, and it’s all you can stand to stay in front of him. All those things are reality.”

You can see all of Cronic’s post-game comments below: