Saban: Mississippi State is best 4-5 team in country

Alabama Football Update: Saban talks about being relentless competitor, tradition of Alabama uniforms and more

By Hunter Ford

Alabama coach Nick Saban said he was happy with the way his team finished in a 38-17 win over LSU and wants to see more of that as the season winds down to possible SEC and BCS championships for the Tide.

In his Wednesday SEC Coaches Teleconference, Saban first addressed the upcoming game against Mississippi State in Starkville.

“This is a real challenge for our team,” Saban said. “It was obviously a very emotional win for us against a very good LSU team. Mississippi State, I think, has the best 4-5 team in the country; they lost 5 games to top 20 teams and played extremely well all year long. It’s a difficult preparation because they do a great job coaching their players. The focus for our guys needs to be what we need to do to improve, what we need to do to prepare well, so that we can continue to try and play our best.”

Saban was asked about key performances in the LSU game by Tana Patrick, O.J. Howard and Jalston Fowler. He was asked if there are some Tide players who play well and contribute to the team, but may not get much attention.

“There’s a lot of guys who do a great job on our team who don’t get a lot of attention,” Saban said. “That doesn’t mean that the coaches don’t appreciate what they do.”

Saban singled out Kenny Bell as an example. He said that Bell, a wide receiver, doesn’t get many catches, but still prepares hard and plays hard, and plays within his role.

Saban said three or four plays usually decide a game, and if role players approach their preparation for a game with “toughness and attention to detail” good things can happen when opportunities arise to make plays.

Patrick, a reserve linebacker, forced a key fumble against LSU at the goal line. Howard, a freshman tight end, caught a short pass which he turned into a long touchdown, and Fowler, a back-up running back, caught his fourth touchdown pass of the season on a play-action pass near the goal line.

Saban was asked about his stance on uniforms, and was told that Northwestern University will be wearing red, white and blue uniforms with an American flag theme, in an upcoming game. Northwestern usually sports purple.

Saban said he had not heard about the Northwestern uniforms, saying he doesn’t keep up with what other teams are wearing.

“I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think it should be my decision to decide to change what peoples’ expectations are for the brand Alabama football presents,” Saban said. “We try to do, and be, and appear, as everybody expects us.”

Saban said the Tide will need to continue to finish strong in games and in game preparation as the season nears its end.

“It’s a mindset,” he said. “You have to do it in everything you do, whether its running sprints after practice… you have to be relentless in the way you compete.”

“It’s going to be important for us to be able to do that.”

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    The Conduit

    “We try to do, and be, and appear, as everybody expects us.”

    Dammit, I love the University of Alabama. Roll Tide.

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