Nick Saban Previews Upcoming Arkansas Matchup
In his mid-week press conference, Nick Saban opened up to the media about the Crimson Tide's upcoming game against Arkansas. The veteran coach shared his thoughts on the Razorbacks' improvement from last season and also highlighted one of the stars for his own defense.
Saban spoke openly about his impression of Arkansas, beginning by saying, "Arkansas' got a really good team. Sam's done great there. They're very well coached, very much improved and playing really well. The quarterback does a great job for them, run and pass and Burks is a great receiver. They run the ball effectively. Their defense really plays physical and they're tough."
Expanding on his praise of Arkansas quarterback, K.J. Jefferson, Saban said, "When he played last year, he was very athletic and obviously made good plays, but I think as a starter, they’ve been able to teach him the things that he can do really well," Saban continued, "I think he’s made tremendous progress as a passer, knowledge of the offense and his ability to execute and do the things they need him to do to be effective in terms of distributing the ball, whether it’s run or pass. He's a very challenging guy to try to defend."
In his lone season as the full-time starter, Jefferson has completed 65% of his passes for nearly 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns, and has led Arkansas to one of their best seasons in recent memory. While gifted as a passer, Jefferson is also a threat on the ground, featuring a bruising 6-foot-3, 245 lb. frame that dares defenders to try and tackle him.
Speaking on one of the players that will be tasked with bringing Jefferson down Saturday night, Saban talked about what Will Anderson brings to the Alabama defense.
"I don't like to compare players, but Will's (Anderson) certainly done a great job for us. He's very productive and plays hard, " Saban continued, "He's got some great pass rush ability. He's very instinctive and I think his production sort of reflects that. He sure is a pleasure to have on the team, I can tell you that."
Saban closed out the press conference by commenting on Arkansas wide receiver, Treylon Burks, who is projected by many as one of the top at his position.
"It's difficult because he's a physical mismatch. He’s bigger than most of the guys that are trying to guard him. It’s kind of like a point guard trying to cover a power forward-type guy who can run fast," Saban continued, "The players have to play great technique, and they’ve got to understand you’ve got to play big against a guy like that."
The Crimson Tide take on Arkansas for their final home game of the season at 2:30 p.m. this weekend, as they look to secure a spot in the SEC title game against Georgia.
Saban's full press conference can be found here.