What Saban Said Monday of LSU Week
Nick Saban had plenty to say at he Monday press conference heading into LSU week. Here's a look:
"I think bye weeks in this point of the season are beneficial. I think in a lot of ways to our team that was very beneficial. I think we got lots of guys that were banged up some rest and limited reps so that they could heal up and of course we won't know how well that happens until we see how they respond this week. And we got a lot of good repetitions on future opponents as well as LSU in the bye week so that should enhance our preparation for this game."
"They're the number one offensive team in the country and it starts with the quarterback, Jayden Daniels. I mean this guy is a phenomenal player. He's a dual-threat player, he's a great passer and makes lots of plays with his feet. Fast, not only can scramble to run but can scramble to throw. They've got a really good running back in Logan Diggs, they got a good tight end in Mason Taylor [...] [Malik Nabers] and Brian Thomas Jr. are really really good receivers, but they have also other good skill guys to go with them. Their offensive line is big and physical and they're able to create great balance on offense. So it's going to be very challenging for us to be able to play the kind of disciplined football that you need to be able to play and not make mistakes, tackle well in the game and be physical and try to win on the line scrimmage, which is going to be challenging.
"Defensively they've got good players, a good front seven. They're big, they're physical and they play well together as a team. I think that sometimes they've had some struggles in the secondary, some guys injured and different things like that but they also make a lot of big plays. They can rush, they affect the quarterback and they can cover so this is going to be a challenging game for us from that standpoint, too. And these guys have a lot of good athletes and a lot really good team speed so that makes them really good on special teams. They have good specialists. So this is a really, really good team in all ways."
On LSU's Jayden Daniels' improvement since last year
"Well he killed us last year, so the guy was a really, really good player last year — he's a really, really good player now. I think, overall, they execute their offense to perfection and it starts with him because he makes the right reads relative to runs and passes and zone option plays and pass down plays. He's very good at reading coverages, makes really quick decisions. All those things were evident last year by the way he played and I think he's probably even better now because he has even more experience and knowledge in the offense and they've got really good players around him.
"He made a couple plays on quarterback draws but some of them weren't designed quarterback runs — two of his long runs in the game in critical situations came on busts up front in terms of gap control and he just saw it and took off running. They do have design quarterback draws — it was a zone option play that he scored on us in overtime, 25-yard run. Another mistake that we made in run support, didn't adjust to the motion — so those are the kinds of things that you cannot afford to make those kinds of mistakes. When you're playing against a quarterback like this, who basically is a great passer but also have triple option type plays in the running game to get him on the perimeter, so athletic so you got to have the right guys trying to get him on the ground."
"'K-Law' is really a great competitor — really tough, physical guy. He is a little different than some of our other receivers, so he does have a role to play and does a really good job of that. He's a great special teams player. Really good team guy, hard worker. So I think we’ll try to always have roles for him to play in the game that benefit his skillset and complement the other guys that we've got."
"This guy is a really good back. He’s big, strong, powerful — really powerful lower body. Breaks tackles. Good one-cut runner. Makes you miss. But this guy makes a tremendous amount of yards after contact, and he is physical."
On coaching being aggressive vs. discipline for pass rushers vs. mobile quarterbacks like Daniels
"I think we want our guys to play aggressive. I don't think you want guys getting pushed by the pocket. You don’t want guys to lose contain on the guy. So there’s a fine line between that. If you get pushed from the pocket, we’re playing with 10 guys now. If you lose contain and he gets outside, you put everybody in harm's way that's trying to sort of plaster their coverage and stay with the guys they gotta guard. Plus, he can take off and run. So I guess there's a fine line between that. We’ve never ever told guys to rush in their pass lanes, but be cautious."
"The game's the most important thing. That would be an outstanding birthday present if we could play well in this game. So that's what I'm focused on and that's what we're really trying to do. When your birthday and holidays come up during the football season, they're really not holidays and they're really not birthdays. You get older, but you don't really celebrate much."
"I think there's lots of challenges. You've got to read run-pass and they've got a good play-action plan. They'll seven-man protect and throw vertical routes. They've probably made more explosive plays running and passing than any team we've played in recent times.
"You've got to guard them. You've got to keep them cut off, and you've got to be disciplined in your eye control so that you have the best opportunity to do that. Play zone, play man, play pattern match sometimes. Try to mix it up. And that's the key to the drill. If you let guys get behind you, you don't get people cut off, you're probably going to give up big plays because they've got a good thrower and guys that can go up and get the ball."
"Kadyn Proctor's getting better and I think he's gaining experience and learning. What we want him to do is not worry so much about making a mistake that he's not playing aggressively, and that's what we've been working on with him. I think he's getting better and he's getting more confident, I thought he played fairly well. He had a play or two that I'm sure he'd tell you and I'd tell you and his coach would tell you, that we didn't execute exactly correctly. But those plays are getting fewer and fewer and the good plays are getting greater and greater."
"Because they have really good players. They're very competitive. They've always been well coached. This game has always had significance in the consequence of your season. So the first thing you've got to do is win your division. And that's what we're really trying to focus on. And you've got to get yourself ready to take care of business against really, really good players to be able to do that.
"I think both of these teams have been ranked since 2007 or something, in the Top 20. I don't know how many of the games we've played with them in the last 15 years or whatever that don't have some consequence to what kind of season you have."
On judging a productive bye week
"I think that you want your players — as I alluded to before — to enjoy their time off. But you also want them to be focused and ready to go when they come back. There's a balance in all that. You can't dissipate and go not eat right and [not] do the right things while you're off. You can still enjoy yourself but you also can stay focused on what you need to do when you come back. I think that's a combination and balance in all that. Balance in life is important in about everything that you do. So that kind of balance can create very positive results for you when you come back and you're ready to go. If you didn't think about your job, what your responsibility is, one minute for three days, you're probably not going to benefit very much from the time you had off."
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