Talking Alabama-LSU

Want to know the buzz following Alabama’s big win over LSU? Here are some links and a transcript of player and coach comments from both Alabama and LSU.

The links:

The comments from Alabama and LSU (courtesy of UA Media Relations):
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban
Opening Statement:
“Well this was a great team win against a very tremendous team. There were great competitors on that field tonight. I can’t tell you how proud I am of our guys and the relentless competitive attitude that we played with in the game. We wanted to play our best game today. We kind of knew that our destiny was ours in terms of what we wanted to do. We knew it was about what we would do in the game.

“I was extremely proud of the way the players came out in the second half especially. We played okay in the first half, we played well in the first half. We didn’t finish drives. We missed a couple of shots that we had to make plays that would turn out to give us some more points. I told the players at halftime that if we kept doing that kind of stuff, we could definitely finish those drives in the second half and make the plays we need to win the game.

“Great resiliency on the competitive side for our players. I’m very, very proud of the way they competed in the game. This is a great team win. There’s not one part of the team that didn’t play well. The offense played extremely well, Greg [McElroy] played well, the receivers played well. We ran the ball. the offensive line did a fantastic job. We thought we might have a little trouble running the ball inside against those guys, but really did a good job of that in the second half.

“They had tremendous balance offensively. Defensively, they went no huddle against us which got our guys a little out of sorts. That’s not something they’d done prior to.

“We made some adjustments, made the plays that we needed to make and I was really pleased and proud of the way the guys competed in the game. Special teams, No. 8 [Trindon Holliday] is a great specialist, probably one of the better guys and most difficult guys in college football. I thought our special teams did a really good job in that regards. It’s a great team win and we’re so pleased and happy.

“I can’t thank our fans enough. What a tremendous atmosphere to play a football game in. I think they’re part of the team too and they still have to do their part very well. I know the players certainly appreciate it, we appreciate it. It certainly has a tremendous impact on our playing games at home when you have that atmosphere in your stadium.”

On Julio Jones…
“Julio (Jones) is an outstanding player and I think probably last week, the Tennessee game, is where he looked like his old self in terms of having the juice and the burst and he played a good game tonight and a good game then. We want to continue to feature him but I’m really pleased with the way the rest of our receivers played in the game, they all made some big plays. (Darius) Hanks made a big catch, Marquis Maze made some big plays and that’s what we need. We need that kind of balance, we need the ball distributed where it’s supposed to go and I think Greg (McElroy) did a great job of that tonight.”

On going for it on fourth down…
“I had confidence in our defense and I think that makes it easier to do things like that, but when you’re inside of one yard, we’re on the 50-yard line, it was a one-score game, I felt like when it’s inside of one yard you have to confidence in your players that they can get it. I think two things, we needed a field goal to make it a two-score game and it was just all about being aggressive and we were and we made it. Those are only good decisions when they work. If they didn’t work, it would have been a horrible one.”

On the gameplan…
“There was no point of emphasis. It was the way we planned the game. We planned to spread them out and do a lot of empty backfield to throw the ball more and create balance. Then, we knew we were going to come back and try to run the ball at some point in the game and continue to create balance. I thought we did a good job on offense, and it was a little different way to play our hand, but I thought it worked effectively and hopefully surprised them a bit in the beginning and caught them off guard. We moved the ball well, changed field position a lot in the first half, but it didn’t pay off in points. I think the resiliency that the players showed in the second half in continuing to compete as the game went on helped us get more and more control of the line of scrimmage and more control of the game.”

On the offensive tactics…
“I think that’s how we want to play offense here. I think it’s important that we utilize players and we attack the middle of the field to make them defend the middle of the field, and you have to have some kind of vertical passing game to do that. Even when you don’t hit them, and we hit a few, it affects how they play on the next play because I work with those corners all the time and whether they caught it or not, they know when they got beat, and it still scares them.”

Senior Defensive Back Javier Arenas
On the play of the defense
“They gave us a scheme that we weren’t used to, but that is what happens when you play one of the better teams in the country. I think we did well collectively, but there are definitely things that we need to work on. It was a good win and a confidence booster.”

On getting behind the line of scrimmage and making big plays:
“I am excited about making those plays and being aggressive. It is great scheming by our coaching staff and we have just been able to execute when our number is called.”

On the importance of the field position battle:
“I think it is real important. When you are able to give your offense a short field and gain momentum, it can really make a difference in the outcome. On the other side, when P.J. (Fitzgerald) nails them down deep, it really gives a boost to our defense.”

Sophomore Wide Receiver Julio Jones
On the wide receivers getting involved early:
“We were just able to take what the defense gave us. If things open up for our running game, we are going to run and the same goes for the passing game. As a whole, we did a good job, but we still have a lot of room for improvement.”

On the touchdown:
“I expect to make those plays. We had a good game plan going in and it was able to open some things up for us out wide and I was just able to make a play.”

Senior Placekicker Leigh Tiffin
On the role of the special teams:
“It is always important, especially in SEC play because defenses are so good. I think it has been a real key for us to be able to win because we are able to get some points when we need them.”

On breaking records and helping the team win:
“All that has been a by-product of us doing our job. I don’t ever worry about it. Those kinds of things take care of themselves. I just try and go out there and do my job.”

LSU Head Coach Les Miles
Opening Statement:
“I told my team I was proud of them, how hard they fought, how hard they played and that they had a lot of promise. Our football team played awfully well. They played hard at times. Congratulations to Alabama. They’re a fine football team. They played extremely well. I understand what happened, I’m just unhappy with the outcome. A couple guys of ours are nicked up. It happens. We’ll regroup and fight again.”

On which injury had the greatest impact on his team:
“I think there are a few that are serious, and I think that [Charles] Scott certainly is probably the most serious. On the game, I still thought [Stevan] Ridley would come in and played well. Certainly he did. I thought our quarterback, [Jarrett ] Lee, would come in. He’s got plenty of experience – understands the game certainly. I thought he’d come in and play. I still like our chances, to be honest with you, injuries or not. No excuses.”

On the play of Jordan Jefferson before he sustained an injury:
“I thought he was playing really well. I like everything about that quarterback. He’s got to get better and there are things that he needs to do better, and he will.”

On how badly Jefferson is hurt:
“Not serious is all I can tell you. He was trying to get back in the game. We felt like it would be best that he sit.”

On what happened to the defense during Julio Jones’ 73 yard touchdown reception:
“I do not know. I can only tell you that was certainly a big play in this game.”

On Mark Ingram’s second half performance:
“I think he’s a good back. He plays toughly in games, something that we’d understand. I think given a similar situation we’d have run the football better late in the game as well.”

LSU Player Quotes
Wide Receiver Terrance Tolliver
On the impact of losing both RB Charles Scott and QB Jordan Jefferson to injury during the game:
“We rely on leadership from those guys. Jarrett (Lee) came in and played well though. They [Alabama] are a very good defense and a very good team. Losing those two guys was a big blow to our offense. It was a letdown to lose both of them, but like I said, Jarrett came in and played hard. Steven Ridley came in and scored a big touchdown, but we just didn’t finish.”

On the emotions in the locker room after the game:
“It was very hard on us emotionally. We wanted to win the game, but just fell short. We just have to come back next week and try to get another victory.”

Linebacker Harry Coleman
On if he thought CB Patrick Peterson intercepted the ball in the fourth quarter:
“The play happened really fast, but we all thought he got his foot down. It looked like there was a mark where he dragged his foot, but apparently not. It was a tough game. We fought hard, so it is a tough loss.”
On letting Alabama convert on third down after Peterson’s near interception:
“It was just a missed tackle on my part. It was a great call by (Defensive Coordinator) Coach Chavis, but I just missed the tackle.”

LSU Quarterback Jarrett Lee
On what was going through his mind on the last possession:
“We just wanted to try to get down there and score and get back in the ballgame. Unfortunately we didn’t do that. I should have had some better reads on that, but we just have to keep our heads up. They’re a great football club and we just need to keep our heads held high.”

On conversing with Jordan Jefferson in between possessions:
“Me and Jordan always talk to each other. I think that only benefits you as a quarterback when you talk to someone who can see things from off the field and when you’re on the field to come off and help each other out. We do just that and we’ve been doing that ever since we have been here. You just have to help each other out.”

On the change in momentum after Julio Jones’ 73-yard touchdown:
“We knew that it is just part of football. Big plays are going to happen and you have to come back and respond. Of course things didn’t go our way. I made some bad reads and some bad throws, but that is just part of football.”

On his reaction after learning Jordan Jefferson was coming out of the game due to injury:
“That’s really just part of football. Injuries are going to happen. It is just unfortunate that happened to him. He was playing a good ballgame. He had to come out and I got warmed up, came in and kept my chin up and tried to play positive football.”

LSU Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard
On Julio Jones’ 73-yard touchdown play:
“That was definitely the turning point in the game. He’s a great player who made a great play. Alabama pinned the corner down when he hit the sideline and we just couldn’t catch him.”

On the mental effect of the play:
“It was tough. The whole game we were bending a little bit, but we never broke until that play. Julio did a tremendous job when he hit the sideline. You’re just not going to catch him.”

On the feelings after losing a hard fought game to Alabama:
“Anytime you lose it’s bad, but when you lose in a big time game like this, when we knew we had it, we where right there. We knew we had to pull away. We needed to make a lot of adjustments on different plays. Alabama had a great scheme coming in, in the first half they had a hard time establishing the run, but in the second half they did a really good job moving the ball. They have two great running backs and they did a great job.”

LSU Quarterback Jordan Jefferson:
On his injury
“I sprained my ankle on one play and I had to come out of the game. I really couldn’t drop back to pass, so I had to come out for the rest of the game.”

On having to watch the rest of the game from the sideline:
“It was devastating to your watch team try as hard as they can to put points on the board and I’m not able to help them. It is just devastating having to watch that from the sidelines.

On the disappointment of losing to Alabama:
“It was very disappointing. We feel like we could have came out with a win, but Alabama played a good game and we tried as hard as we could to come out with a victory and they just got on top of us.”