There were some positives, a whole lot of negatives, and a good bit to build off of heading into next week’s matchup against Vanderbilt.
Check out what some of the players and coaching staff had to say following the 34-6 loss to Alabama:
On his three fumbles:
“I was trying to make something happen, but I didn’t hold the ball like I should’ve. Ball ended up coming out those three times, actually. That’s something I need to work on this upcoming week. I need to make sure I’m not running with it on the outside of my body, keep it high and tight, keep my hand over it to make sure it doesn’t come out.
On how fast the pass rush came at him:
“They were coming at me pretty fast. I just need to work on what we worked on this last week in practice, focus on getting the ball out a lot quicker.”
On running game:
“We’re going to be just fine. Boom can change the game, and he has changed the game in each of the first four games, at times. I told Benny right before half time to get ready, first series, second series, we’re going. It’s just going to happen like that sometimes. Jojo had a little package too, I thought he ran the ball really, really well tonight, does things that Benny also does. Something that will continue. Jojo went in there and got us four first downs and ran the ball hard, and we needed that to happen. Benny is going to get his touches. Benny is going to be just fine.”
On positives to build off of:
“We were two (plays) away from converting on third down and getting up to 50%. It comes down to consistency, we’ve got to get more consistent. Against a great team like that, if you get to 50% on third down, you’ve got a chance. We had the ball for thirty minutes, but we didn’t sustain. We didn’t help when we got in the red zone, we didn’t score touchdowns. We had a chance on the first one, and we didn’t take advantage of that. And then we put the defense behind the eight ball with those two turnovers. We’ll watch some film, and I know there are some things we can improve on for next week.”
On what gave him trouble:
“There were some athletes that gave me some trouble, but besides that I went out there and did the best I could and didn’t fear anybody. That was the main thing I wanted to focus on. You don’t idolize anybody, you don’t go out there with fear and you’re going to do what you do best.”
On what to build off of going forward:
“Most definitely, we came out with the mentality of ‘don’t fear anybody,’ and I think we did a great job of that. It doesn’t matter who we play against, not even the number one team in the nation. We have to come out with confidence, and you see there in the first half we held them down to very minimal points. We proved that we can play with anyone if we just go out there confidently, there’s no doubt in my mind.”
On talent of Alabama’s defensive line:
“We definitely expected it. They were exactly what you’d expect from the number one team in the nation. They were very good, very physical, very good with their hands, and very fast. But us five guys up front, if we do what we have done every day in practice and compete, we can be able to match any talent in front of us. I felt that we came out and we were finishing blocks a lot better on offense, and it opened the door for success on the run game. That’s definitely something for us to keep focused on going forward.”
On Alabama defense compared to other opponents:
“You know, when you cut through a hole, they just swarm around you wherever you are. They get to the ball extremely fast. They have a really good defensive line, but there really wasn’t a difference. They were a physical team.”
On showing success against top defense:
“I look at all opponents the same, it doesn’t matter if they’re ranked first or they’re the worst. I’m just going to run hard, run downhill, it doesn’t matter what team we’re playing against. That’s how I see it.”
On what he can build off of for next week:
“I would say that I got to show what I can do against a really good team. That’s a really good defense. I’m happy I got to show off what I can do.”
On what he needs to work on going forward:
“I need to work on my burst a little bit more, I need to get way better on my cuts. I need to improve on my vision, but that’s all stuff I can work hard on in practice to accomplish.”
On what went right for the defense:
“I think we did pretty well on the defensive side of the ball. We held them to their lowest point total of the season, and it is the number one ranked team in the country. Looking forward, I think something we all need to be more disciplined, including myself.
On importance of next three games:
“Obviously we can’t let one loss hold us back for the rest of the season. We can’t let a loss to Southern Miss hold us back from beating South Carolina and New Mexico State, so we can’t do that with this game either. It is the number one team in the country, and we got to see where we stand. We could’ve held them to one or two less touchdowns, but overall we just need to be more disciplined to cut back on those mistakes.”
On his personal success:
“It’s how I’ve always been. I just have an eye for the ball. Wherever the ball is, that’s where I am, that’s just how I’ve always been. That’s where I’m going to run to.”
On difference between tonight and loss to Florida:
“Everyone wanted to win tonight, I mean it’s the number one team in the country. If you’re not excited for this game, I don’t know what to tell you. Everyone wanted to win, the effort was there, but we weren’t disciplined enough, and that’s a big reason why we didn’t get the win.”
Check back in for more updates on Saturday’s 34-6 loss against the Crimson Tide.