What Saban Said Wednesday Night
"The most important thing, I think, in this game is great practice habits, technically work on the things that you need to do to go execute. You know you’re going to play against a good player. They have a lot of good players. You need to know exactly what to do, how to do it, why it’s important to do it that way, so when it comes to the game, you’re not really thinking about it. You can do it automatically. That takes great preparation and focus, and that’s what’s going to help you have success in the game and that’s what guys have to stay focused on. You can’t worry about what anybody else says or thinks or does. You’ve got to worry about what you’ve got to do, and I think that’s the most important thing for our team right now."
On LSU coach Brian Kelly
"Brian Kelly has been a really, really good coach wherever he’s been for a long, long time. He’s smart. They’ve got a great system. offensively. Players are well-coached. They’ve got discipline. They play hard. They play with toughness. They play with great intangibles. He’s got a winning process that has worked at Notre Dame, Cincinnati, every place he’s ever coached. I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for him, and I think he’s doing an outstanding job there. They went to the SEC Championship Game last year and got a really, really good team this year. So I think he’s doing an outstanding job."
On OC Tommy Rees' approach to facing his former coach
"I don’t think anything different. Tommy works hard and tries to do the best he can to help our players to play well in the game. I don’t think in these kinds of games you want to sort of try to – I don’t know what you would call it – do a lot of new stuff because the players need to have confidence in what you’re doing, and they gain confidence in doing that through cumulative reps throughout the course of the season. And if you just make a bunch of changes, they start looking at you like, ‘Don’t you think we can execute what we’ve been doing?’ So I think you’ve got to be a little careful, but I don’t see that happening. I think he’s focused on trying to get our players in the right spots to do the right things that help them have a chance to be successful."
On LSU edge rusher Harold Perkins
"He makes plays all over the place. This guy’s a really, really good athlete, really good player, very explosive. Sometimes they play him out in the apex. He’s a great blitzer. He can play like Star and reroute people and make plays in the passing game. Sometimes he plays in the box. Sometimes he plays on the edge. He’s got great first-step quickness. He’s a good pass rusher. That’s why he has so many tackles for loss and sacks and things like that. But I think this guy is one of the most dynamic players in our league."
On recruiting benefits of having three key games at home in one season
"I think it’s great for our fans that we have quality opponents that come here and they have an opportunity to cheer our team on. I think the atmosphere and environment that they have created in all of our games this year has been phenomenal. I think it’s gonna be really, really important in this game — I thought it was absolutely as good as it ever gets for the Tennessee game, which I think had an impact on the game, it affected them. I think it’s gonna be important that we have that same kind of atmosphere in this game. But I think it’s exciting for our fans, I know our players love playing in Bryant-Denny Stadium, and big games are always something that we look forward to playing, especially in front of an enthusiastic home crowd."
"I don’t think you can simulate it. Players gotta watch the film — if we had someone that could play like him, they’d be playing. So they wouldn’t be on scout team. So we do the best we can, and I think our guys do a really good job — both sides of the ball — trying to give a good look to the defensive players. But it’s hard to simulate. It’s hard to be that deep on your team to be able to simulate. It’s one of the reasons we go good-on-good some in practice, so now the good guys are playing against the good guys — so hopefully you got somebody playing STAR that is explosive, whether it’s Caleb Downs or Malachi [Moore] or whoever is really fast or quicker and can be challenging. And our players need to understand and respect why we go good-on-good. It’s to help each other get better. Because if you’re going to play against a good player on Saturday, you get a chance to play against a good player in practice — challenge yourself to do things the right way. It helps you get better. But we don’t have somebody here, on scout team, that can simulate what No. 4 does. Because the guy’s a phenomenal player."
On Playing a full 60 minutes
"They have to make a choice and a decision to do it. They gotta understand the level of intensity that has to be sustained, a sense of urgency that has to be sustained, and how smart you have to be — which goes back to the preparation that you had — so that you’re not making mental errors because you’re playing smart and you’re playing with good intelligence. So you’ve got immediacy, intensity and intelligence. Those three things, sustained for 60 minutes to a high standard, that’s the challenge. You have to make a choice and a decision to do that. And it doesn't just happen in the game, it’s got to be a habit. If you practice at a high level all the time, you’ll be able to play in the game at a high level all the time. If you don’t do it in practice, and you think you’re going to be able to do it in the game, probably not gonna happen. We keep harping, we keep teaching — every time we get the opportunity to point out to a player, ‘This is an opportunity for you to learn how to sustain better in the game,’ we want to try to do it."
"I think it’s a lot to do with confidence. And I think it has to do with experience. Experience is nothing but an accumulation of all the mistakes that we’ve made in the past, right? It’s all of us — me, you guys, everybody. So when you learn from all those things, which Jalen has, and he’s done a really good job of that, and you stay positive, then you start to develop confidence because you start making plays and doing things right on a more consistent basis. And I think that makes you feel good about yourself and it makes you impact other people around you because of the way you carry yourself. I think that’s started to happen, and you know, hopefully we can continue to build on that."
"They’ve got a lot of good players and I think if you single out one guy, from a skill standpoint, even though No. 8 has been phenomenal all year, so is No. 11. They’ve got some other guys. The tight end is a really good player, the running back is a really good player, the quarterback is a really good player."
"So what it comes down to is everybody has a personal challenge that they have to get their job done, all 11 guys. The guys rushing have to keep the guy in the pocket so he can’t take off running a scramble. The guys covering have got to cover when he scrambles they’ve got to plaster the guy so they don’t give up big plays on a scramble, runs or passes.
On if he gets scouting reports on SEC officiating crews
“Yes, we have a scouting report on every crew."
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