COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF MEDIA CONFERENCE
January 6, 2021
Grapevine, Texas, USA
Alabama Crimson Tide
CFP Media Conference
Q. Can you kind of describe the challenge that Ohio State's defense will pose you, especially the front four, the defensive line?
MAC JONES: Yeah, I mean, overall they have great players. Not a super complicated scheme and they don't have to be that way because they have great players, but it's mostly four down fronts.
I've been impressed watching them on film, very vertical team in terms of the D-line getting back there at the quarterback, and then obviously all 11 players rallying to the ball.
They do a good job and we've got to be ready to roll, and it's going to be the best defense we've played this year.
Q. I asked Alex the same question. You guys have a bunch of Florida natives on your roster. How special is it to be able to end this season, one that's kind of been unprecedented with all these disruptions and everything, in your home state of Florida?
MAC JONES: Yeah, it is really cool, just being from Florida and getting a chance to go back there and then playing in Miami is a great city.
But you know, at the end of the day it's just another game, and we've got to go out there and play our game, and Ohio State is going to do the same. They're going to play the game just like it's any other game, and we're just looking forward to that.
Q. You guys have played a lot of great secondaries this year. When you look at Ohio State's on film, what challenges do the Buckeyes' defensive backs present that you'll have to overcome in this one?
MAC JONES: Yeah, I think the four guys they play back there are talented football players. I played 7-on-7 with Shaun Wade, 24, a great guy, great family, really a technician, a longer guy, and he played small in coverage, and then Sevyn Banks on the other side.
First of all, he has a cool name and he's a great football player. His speed, change of directions is all there. And then their two safeties, 21 and 41, do a great job in the back end run fitting, playing coverage, post high defense. They're ballhawks, so you've got to keep your eyes on them.
But they play with speed and they play together back there, and like I said, the whole defense, really good defense, and it starts up front, but they play well all around.
Q. Just wondering, how do you hope this team will be remembered?
MAC JONES: I think we'll be remembered for a lot already, but to do what we've done this season has been impressive. We've got one more game and it's the most important game.
But we're not satisfied with where we are and people are going to put a lot of pressure on this game, but I'm super proud of our teammates and coaches and the fans for supporting us all season long.
There's no added pressure, but at the same time, it's kind of what we signed up for coming to Alabama, is just to get a chance to play in a National Championship and then hopefully win one.
Q. Just wondering what's it like for you to go head to head with Justin Fields in this game, and how do you enjoy that as a quarterback?
MAC JONES: Yeah, I love playing against a great quarterback. Justin Fields is a top quarterback in the country and he's played well this entire year and throughout his whole career, and I'm just blessed to be able to play on the field with him.
Our defense has a great challenge with their offense, but he's a great player and I'm looking forward to talking with him and watching him play.
Q. I just wanted to ask you, how would you describe your relationship with Sark and how that's gone this season? And what would be your advice to future quarterbacks who are going to work with him?
MAC JONES: Yeah, Coach Sark has done a great job game planning all year long. He calls great plays. All the players really like him, and we just appreciate all the hard work he's put into this program.
He's calling cool plays, but at the same time, we stick to our base rules and just follow what he wants us to do.
And future quarterbacks, I'd just say enjoy Coach Sark. He's a great guy. You can learn a lot about being a great person, and then also applying things to your game. He's coached at all levels, NFL, college, so you can get a lot of different information from what he teaches you when you watch film.
And then just learn how to think like Coach Sark, because he sees everything the defense does and he's going to put you in the best position to succeed as a quarterback and an offense.
Q. You mentioned playing 7-on-7 with Shaun. Just kind of curious if you have any standout memories of playing with him or practicing against him or anything that stands out when you think back to that?
MAC JONES: I don't know if I can remember a specific moment, but Shaun, like I said, he comes from a great family and he's a technician, and he's kind of a perfectionist in his own way. He celebrates when he makes great plays, but he's more of a quiet guy and just kind of does his job.
In high school, really humble for being a top recruit, and at the time I wasn't very highly recruited and he always had my back in interviews or anything like that. I really appreciate him and his family, and I'm just really happy for how he's played throughout his career at Ohio State.
Q. An awful lot of good players have come through Alabama over the years. What do you think this group of offense -- how are they unique and special in your eyes?
MAC JONES: I don't know. I think it's cool that we've all had a chance to play with each other the past couple years and everyone has kind of had their own role and their roles have changed throughout the years. There's plenty of examples of that, but I think it just shows the stick-to-itiveness of our offense and our whole team.
The defense there is plenty of players that are the same way. But I really love this team, and I've got a chance to play on four really great teams at Alabama, but I think this one is really special. I think it starts with the players and how we just came in together and fought for a common goal of trying to get a chance to play in the National Championship game, which is right where we are.
Q. What does this team mean to you?
MAC JONES: The team? This team in general, just I'm really happy for these guys fighting through adversity. Like I said before, we've got a great group of guys, but at the same time, we have a lot of great support staff around here in this building that help everything go, and they probably don't get enough credit that they deserve.
But this team is awesome, and we're just looking forward to finishing this year strong and getting a chance to play the final game of the year together for 60 minutes.
Q. I know you were really proud of watching DeVonta win the Heisman, but when did that chemistry between you and DeVonta start? Talk about that chemistry that you two have.
MAC JONES: Yeah, first of all, I just want to congratulate Smitty for his award. That's really awesome and I'm proud for his family and Amite City. That was really cool to see him on the broadcast and his whole family, and the whole city was really in there cheering DeVonta on.
But we've had that chemistry for a while. I think about camps and things like that. Me and Smitty were the two skinniest guys out there throwing the ball to each other, so it kind of just started there. But he's worked really hard and he deserves everything that's came his way.
Q. I know his availability is still up in the air, but how good was it to see Jaylen Waddle back on the practice field?
MAC JONES: Yeah, he actually looked really good, but I don't know if I can answer that question properly because you've got to ask Coach Saban and the training staff.
But he's worked really hard in his rehab, and we'll see what happens.
Q. Tell me about the moment last night in particular when Smitty's name was called and being the first guy to hug him and what that moment was like for you?
MAC JONES: Yeah, it was really cool. I was telling some people earlier, I was nervous about getting Smitty the ball this year. I was like, I've got to make sure that Smitty gets the ball and makes plays.
So I just wanted to make sure I did my job in his success, and obviously he's helped me out a ton, and everyone else has too.
Just to see Smitty, his entire life just kind of going to that moment, you could see it. He was kind of like a little shocked, but I was so happy for him. It's like a video game, man. You're up there and you get to see your teammate win the Heisman Trophy and you feel like that's just one of the coolest things that you can do, is have a chance to be with him, especially in kind of the crazy year that it's been, and just be able to be the first guy to kind of congratulate him.
I'm just so happy for Smitty and his family and his city and the whole nine.
Q. I think this is the most prolific wide open offense I've ever seen from Alabama. Obviously they put their trust in you to run this show. What is it like when you know you've got the confidence of a Nick Saban and a Steve Sarkisian to almost call any play at any time and with those kind of weapons around you?
MAC JONES: Yeah, it's really just an awesome experience to be able to lead these guys, and I've said this before, but they make everything go. I mean, like you said, we have a great play caller and then we have a great offensive line and skill players that make it all happen.
Really we prepare really hard. It doesn't just show up on game day. It takes a lot of really months and years of preparation, and we've just kind of molded together as a group, but at the same time - I've said this before - we had some improvements to make after last game, and we're going to do that this week and we've started that already, and just looking forward to this next game.
Q. I know you can't really comment on Jaylen Waddle, but how exciting would it be, the possibility of reinserting him into this offense, now that things are even clicking without him?
MAC JONES: Yeah, it would be really cool. Jaylen has worked really hard to get back on the field and I know he wants nothing more than to play, but I think they're just going to make that decision downstairs. But it's his choice, and I feel like in watching him, he looks really good out there. So we'll see what happens.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports