January 11, 2021
Miami, Florida, USA
Hard Rock Stadium
Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama - 52, Ohio State - 24
Q. Justin Fields threw for six touchdown passes in the semi-final. What did your defense do to slow him down?
CHRISTIAN HARRIS: I think today we just went out and tried to execute whatever coach's game plan was. Coach put together a great game plan, like I just said, so I think all we had to do was go out there, just execute. I think that's all we did.
Q. This was the 18th National Championship for Alabama. What does it mean to you to be a part of that?
CHRISTIAN HARRIS: It's a blessing, truly a blessing to even be able to have the opportunity to play in this game, especially being that we've been through so much this season with corona and injuries and stuff.
But we persevered and we just stayed the course and just truly a blessing to be in this position.
Q. To follow up on that, it's obviously been a challenging season for you and everybody, but how rewarding is it to finish on top like y'all have?
CHRISTIAN HARRIS: It's amazing. Like I said, it's a blessing. From going in the summers to having workouts to not knowing if we're going to have a season, just trusting the coaches and staying to the course and it's just truly a blessing. I'm at a loss for words right now. I can't really believe it. It's still hitting me right now, so, yeah, it's just amazing.
Q. What was that game plan as far as trying to stop Justin? I know he had a couple big runs there, but it seemed like generally you were able to contain him both on the ground and through the air.
CHRISTIAN HARRIS: Like you just said, containing him and making sure we were all disciplined in our drops. They got a lot of crazy route concepts out there. They got a lot of great explosive receivers and they had some real good catches out there.
But it was just going in there and just trying to make sure we contained them and make sure that we run the routes. We didn't play that much man-to-man. I think we played a lot of zone. So it really just helped us out take away a lot of his looks. We just executed and came out with a victory.
Q. Kind of looking back over the season, how do you feel like this performance kind of validated what you were talking about over the past couple weeks, just how the defense has gotten better and kind of shown that some of those early season games were maybe a little bit of a fluke?
CHRISTIAN HARRIS: Well, I personally think there was a lot of question about our defense after that Ole Miss game. They had almost like 700 some yards on us. I think ever since then, we just tried to go in and make sure we stay focused on communication. I think that's what really played a big part in our success as a defense as a whole, making sure everybody communicates and we're all on the same page, whether it's the right call or the wrong call, as long as we're on the same page we can all go out there and execute. And I think we do a really great job of that whenever we're communicating.
So I think coming into this game just making sure we over-communicate whenever we have to and just trying to make a statement and I think we did that.
Q. Talk about just the discipline from you guys, and this is a talented schedule you had to play. I mean, you had to play Georgia and you had to play Florida. It's all SEC. And then you play a team like Notre Dame, who is talented, and obviously tonight. Talk about this unit, the discipline, and just the coaching staff what all this means to you.
CHRISTIAN HARRIS: We started being here, being disciplined is our number one thing definitely. It kind of starts in the fourth quarter whenever we're going throughout these crazy workouts that we have, just ignoring the fact that, yeah, your body's hurting or you might be tired or you might be tired of doing the same stuff every single day, but, like you just said, staying disciplined is very important, sticking to the course and trusting what the coaches say, trusting what the coaches say every single day, with the corona and the fact that we had to do the same thing every single day it does get repetitive, but when you stay to the course you see what happens, we won a National Championship, so...
Q. I figured since we're here, I'll ask you another one. Coach Saban talked about it's the next-man-up mentality. Talk about that for this defense. I mean, obviously in a COVID year you have to have that, but in a normal year it's a next-man-up mentality. Talk about the depth of this team and just what you've seen from some of your fellow teammates out there on the field.
CHRISTIAN HARRIS: You know, everybody says when you come to Bama, you might not play as a freshmen, but we have a lot of talented freshmen who came in here and stepped up, guys that were starting and guys that were second string that prepared just as well as the first string did. That way, because you never know when your opportunity will come. You could be one play away from you being a starter and you having to go out there and execute whatever the game plan is and in a National Championship games like this. So, and I think just trying to make everybody understand that you never know when your time could come. You need to prepare for every single game just like you're a starter. That really helped us out a lot. So, yeah, I think it really played a big part in our success.
Q. Justin had a pretty big game last week against Clemson and came out this game and had a couple big runs, a couple of big plays here and there, but it seems like you guys contained him fairly well. What was the game plan coming in and how were you able to execute it?
CHRISTIAN HARRIS: The main thing was to make sure we were all on the same page and put pressure on the quarterback. He's a really great quarterback whenever pressure's not on him and he has time to look down the field and pass to his receivers. This week we tried our hardest to put pressure on him and do what we can and see if we could get off the field on third down.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports