January 11, 2021
Miami, Florida, USA
Hard Rock Stadium
Ohio State Buckeyes
Alabama, 52 - Ohio, 24
Q. There was a play where Devonta Smith got matched up with you one on one and scored a touchdown. From your vantage point, what happened on this play?
TUF BORLAND: Just three deep down. We know one of the issues is protecting the seams, so kind of just happened. He's a Heisman Trophy winner, so give him credit. He's a good player.
So, yeah. I'll work to get it fixed.
Q. How much of an effect do you think it had that you didn't have Tommy or Tyreke for this game? And related to that, you needed to get pressure on Mac Jones and you guys aren't able to do that consistently. How big a factor was that in the game. And how disappointing is it you weren't able to do that?
TUF BORLAND: Yeah, I mean, Tommy and Tyreke are unbelievable players. They showed that ten days ago whenever it was when we played Clemson. Unbelievable players. At a place like Ohio State we always approach next man up, and that's what the case was. Especially in the COVID environment season, everyone has to be ready.
Yeah, I mean, credit to Alabama. They have great players. They played really hard. They played well.
Q. I know you guys want to win a national title, but how would you explain what you guys did accomplish this year and when you look back on this season what you'll think of it?
TUF BORLAND: I mean, this season is just so unique. You know, in August we didn't even have a season, so I think being here is a great accomplishment. Obviously.
We're all competitors. We all would love to have won a National Championship and that's why we're here. We were here to compete for and ultimately win a National Championship.
But no one is hanging their heads. We're going to learn from this experience, and I think the guys that come back next year will grow from it and be better from it.
Q. I would like to know about the amount of games and the difference -- you guys played 7 versus their 12 games. Do you feel 7 was enough time to get in sync, in unison for this big game here versus their 12 games, which may have gave them an advantage and being more in sync tonight?
TUF BORLAND: Yeah, I mean, I don't know. I don't know how much that plays a role. Some would say that we would be fresher moving into this game and that would be an advantage.
But, I mean, the nonconference games do give you a chance to kind of get your feet under you, and obviously this year we didn't have that. We didn't have that opportunity. We hit the ground running, so we felt that pressure every week to make those six, seven games count.
Q. As you look back on facing this offense, Alabama, do you think it's almost -- this is a trend where offense is heading in college football, or sort of aberration of a great bunch of athletes being on the same team at the same time?
TUF BORLAND: Yeah, I mean, you got to give Alabama a lot of credit. They have great players and great scheme and they execute it really well. They played extremely hard and that's the result that you see. That's why the scoreboard was the way that it was.
So, yeah, I mean, I don't know if there is a trend. Obviously offenses these days are spread them out, throw it all over the place, extremely explosive.
But they're unique. What makes them unique is the caliber of players that they have.
Q. Hey, Tuf, you being a guy that played a lot of football here, as you reflect on your five years here, where do you feel like you'll leave this program better than when you came in?
TUF BORLAND: I don't know. I mean, there is so much to reflect on. Obviously my first like remembrance of it as a freshman was losing in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
Coming back here and five years later get a shot to play for the National Championship was an unbelievable experience. I'm so thankful to be a part of this program with the coaches, the players. Everyone is so elite at what they do, whether it be coaching or playing.
But the thing that's going to stay with me is the caliber of people we have here and the relationships I've built. So I'm just so thankful to everyone for this last five years.
Q. Obviously this is a rare collection of talent that Alabama has. People might watch this game and think there is a sizable gap between Alabama and everyone else, including Ohio State. What would you say to that?
TUF BORLAND: I'm sorry, I couldn't hear the question.
Q. Yeah. People would watch this game and think there is a different level between Alabama and everybody else in terms of talent, including Ohio State. As good as you guys have been, what would you say to that in terms of how big the gap is between Alabama and everyone else?
TUF BORLAND: I mean, Alabama has great players. Give them all the credit. They executed better tonight. But to say that they're more talented than this Ohio State team, I don't know. Hard disagree with that. Top to bottom we feel like we have a talented team, guys that can compete with anyone in the country, and, again, just credit to Alabama. They had a great night. They executed well.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports