Praises Utah Utes; says team is better than people think
Nick Saban doesnâ€™t want anyone around the Alabama Crimson Tide getting complacent. That includes the fans. Saban sounded the alarm after practice Monday. He praised the Utah Utes and challenged fans traveling to New Orleans to be ready to help the Crimson Tide.
â€œThis is a lot better team than everybody thinks,â€ Saban said of Utah. â€œWe certainly appreciate the fact our fans have been supportive of us all season. We certainly appreciate we sold out our ticket allotment immediately. That is the kind of support you need in bowl games. That is what helps the program get in better bowl games when you have a history of traveling well. But I want everybody who is traveling and supporting us, you need to respect this team and be ready to go because this is a very very good team.
â€œThis is as good a team we have played all year long in terms of what they do. And if you think any different, you are thinking wrong.â€
Saban effused praise for the Utah offense.
â€œThis is a very challenging team,â€ Saban said. â€œThey may be as effective throwing the football, like a 68 or 69 percent completion percentage, as anybody we have played all year. They have a very good passing efficiency. They have a very good quarterback and the receivers are all good route runners.â€
Saban said the defense looks good too. He provided a helpful scouting report of what fans should expect to see based on Utahâ€™s film.
â€œThey donâ€™t look so small to me,â€ Saban said. â€œThey play with power. They come out of their hips well. They donâ€™t play soft on the line of scrimmage. They are going to play an eight-man front most of the time. So they are going to try to get one more in the box than what youâ€™ve got most of the time in any type of running situations.
â€œThey play very disciplined in terms of their gap control. Thatâ€™s what makes them a pretty good defensive team.â€
Alabama breaks following Tuesday practice and reassembles in New Orleans Dec. 27. The team is traveling individually to New Orleans, and it isnâ€™t something that worries Nick Saban. He said he trusts his players to make the right decisions.
â€œWill somebody miss a flight or somebodyâ€™s flight get delayed? Probably,â€ Saban said. â€œWill the sun come up the next day if somebody is a half hour late? Probably. Am I going to lose any sleep over it? Probably not.â€
Losing sleep he saves for worrying about the Utes. Saban said there are some things Utah does which causes him to worry. He expressed concern over stopping Utah when â€œthey are in empty, when they are in four wideouts, when number 4 is playing quarterback and running it up in there and nobody can stop him.â€ Heâ€™s also thinking about stopping Utahâ€™s pass rushers and blocking the edges and handling Utahâ€™s third down blitzing.