Alabama’s Saban on Integrity, Michigan Cheating
This time next week Jim Harbaugh may be coaching across town for the L.A. Chargers, but for now he still leads the Michigan program. Harbaugh and Rose Bowl foe Nick Saban of Alabama met the media Sunday in Cali for a final time prior to Monday's 4 p.m. CT CFP semifinal tilt. Here's a look at what each had to say:
Nick Saban, Alabama
On why the Iron Bowl was so close
"I think everybody was looking a little bit ahead of what might be in store for playing in the SEC Championship Game. I don't think we respected the Auburn team like we should."
"Michigan is very challenging for us, and we'll use the day today to try to clean up what we need to do to hopefully play a really good game."
On beating Texas in Pasadena for the 200 national title
"I don't reminisce much about what has happened in the past. I'm looking forward to today and the next day."
On freshman safety Caleb Downs
"Caleb is a very special person in terms of his maturity and leadership." "He's played really, really well for us all season long, probably as well as any freshman player we've ever had in the secondary."
[Bear in mind, that list includes current NFL star Minkah Fitzpatrick, who many compare Downs to.]
On Jalen Milroe
I think Jalen has made a tremendous amount of progress throughout the course of the year. He prepares well for the game. The success that he's had gradually increased his confidence throughout the year."
On the need for discipline/eye control vs. Michigan's trick plays
"You never know what's coming up next, so you have to be focused every play."
On his concern over Michigan stealing signs
"No, we're not really concerned about that. Integrity in the game is really, really important."
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
On how he feels
"I got a darn good sleep last night."
On the tradition of the Rose Bowl
"It makes people in the Midwest want to move to California." [Hint, hint.]
On defending Alabama/Jalen Milroe
"It's a dangerous offense to defend. You have to defend the next play which is in the play because they do such a good job of extending the play.
"On our toes at all times, it's a big challenge."
On the Alabama secondary
"Two potential first-round picks at corner [Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold], I would say. All-American safety [in freshman Caleb Downs]. Really good safety play."
On if his team though favored feels like an underdog vs. Alabama
"I feel the team's in a good place. The things we've learned from being in this game the past couple of years, we're going to lean on those."
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Gallery Credit: Mary K