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January 8, 2022

Bryce Young

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Lucas Oil Stadium

Alabama Crimson Tide

Press Conference

Q. A question about Ja'Corey Brooks, how do you think he stepped up in this last game? And how has he gradually done that over the course of the season?

BRYCE YOUNG: Ja'Corey stepped up tremendously last week, last game. I think he's really growing into that role of being someone we can depend down in down out. Someone who obviously at the beginning of the season wasn't getting the reps he's getting now.

But that didn't discourage him at all. He stayed ready, stayed focused and locked in. I think that's really showing as of late. So when his name was called he responded. And that's always been a big thing for us, is having the next man up.

So it's been time for him to step up and he's been doing a great job of that so far. And I have all the confidence in the world with him to continue to do that.

Q. Jordan Davis for Georgia said he and his teammates have referred to you as the gingerbread man because of your ability to run in the backfield and evade tacklers. I'm curious your thoughts on that nickname they've given you.

BRYCE YOUNG: I hadn't heard that until now. But I guess it's a compliment. But that is stuff you can't control. We know how good that front seven is.

We have a ton of respect for them, that entire defense. We understand the challenge that's at hand. There's a respect factor there. So we have respect. It's just on us to prepare during the week to put ourselves in the best position to be successful and execute when the time comes.

Q. Generally what is it the secret to Coach Saban that allows him, a guy who is, you know, almost 50 years older than a lot of the guys he's coaching, to be able to relate to them and get them to listen to him do what he wants? Obviously that would seem to be a big part of his success to stay this good this long. And do you remember anything personally when you were being recruited by him what drew you to not just Alabama and the winning but him personally from talking to you?

BRYCE YOUNG: I think it really started with -- I think it all starts with the respect that we have for him. Obviously what he's produced throughout his entire career, what he's meant to this program, to the state.

It really starts with the respect we all for him. And also talks to Coach Saban, how he's adapted over the years. The game has changed since he's been coaching. The players, the landscape of college football, college football in general has changed.

And for him to be able to adapt multiple times throughout his career, that's not easy for guys who have been doing it so long. And for him to have all the success he's had and still be able to adapt and kind of change how he approaches everything, we see that. We recognize that, and that means a lot for us.

For me, recruiting, what really stuck out was how real he was. He never -- some coaches can make you promises in recruiting. And once you really understand it and start to think about it, nothing's promised in recruiting.

When you start to hear those promises, it starts to become a little bit of a red flag knowing that, hearing a coach promise you this or that when you've heard it might not be like that when you get there.

Coach Saban was always direct with me. He never promised me anything. He only promised me opportunities to compete. He told me from the jump in recruiting that this wasn't a place for everyone and exactly the type of player and person that he was looking for and that he knows thrives in this organization, and that was the person and player that I strive to be.

He was always honest and always real with me in recruiting. That was something that really stuck with me and really separated this place from every other place in the country.

Q. Obviously Alabama's had quite a run at quarterback with Mac, Tua and yourself. Have you heard from those guys during this crazy month you've had? And if so what's been the message from them?

BRYCE YOUNG: Yeah, I had heard -- like you said, there's such a rich quarterback history here -- I've heard from, I talked to Mac not too long ago, a couple days ago. And him just telling me to keep going to the finish, to lock in, just to make sure that we finish everything off right.

And to hear from Mac really on a regular basis, just to have that respect from the other guys in the past, for me that means a lot.

Coming here, I understood the rich quarterback history. Being able to watch Mac last year I really got to see what it was like being right next to him. So carrying on that legacy and doing what I can to improve it, that means a lot to me and I take a lot of pride in that.

I think everyone, all those quarterbacks understand being here and what our goal is as a team. So kind of being able to tap into that and feed into that, knowing that winning this game is always a goal for us at this program. So just being able to feed off of that, that means a lot.

Q. Do you remember the first time you heard from a college coach that, basically a scholarship offer that, hey, we would like you to come play for us? Do you remember how old you were and what your reaction was at that time?

BRYCE YOUNG: It was in eighth grade. It was the last day of eighth grade. I went out to Texas Tech, I had been in contact with them. It was from coach Kliff Kingsbury. He was the first coach to give me a scholarship offer in Lubbock, Texas, Texas Tech.

It was a huge blessing being that young and get a scholarship offer. It was amazing. I was super excited.

It wasn't really something that I was -- I was expecting, something you hope for and dream about, but for it to be a reality that obviously you have to maintain during high school and make sure your grades are good and all that. But it kind of became a reality that I'd be able to play football at the next level. Kind of getting that confirmation, it was a tremendous blessing.

Q. What did you think of Nick Saban's jacket coming off the plane last night? And what was it like for you stepping into that air in Indianapolis?

BRYCE YOUNG: Coach's jacket was fine. Coach is always going to step into something we haven't seen before as a team. So that's to be expected.

But stepping out in Indy really just starts to set in when the plane lands. You get out, it's obviously a different change in climate. But you really get the realization that you're in this new environment. You know why you're here. Everyone understands what we're here for.

So whenever you get that change in setting, it starts to get more and more real about what we've been working for knowing that the game's around the corner.

So it was a great experience. It's always fun to play in different environments. But stepping out, it's really just that confirmation, when you get to the setting where you're going to play, you know what time it is. So for us it was all just that reassurance and that confirmation to know that what we're here for and it's time to lock in for that.

Q. Now that we're just a couple days away here and you finally arrived in Indy, what is the mindset for you and the team right now? And secondly, obviously you played well in the SEC title game. So what are some things you'll have to do to be successful a second time against Georgia?

BRYCE YOUNG: Our mindset is just all about the game. Obviously this is what you work for the entire season. I know that's what our goal has always been. So we understand that this is a business trip.

It's all for all of us, it's all about -- it's all about the game on Monday. So it's a pretty simple mindset. It's not complicated at all. We all know what we're here for. And it's all about getting better and doing what we have to do to put ourselves in the best position when Monday comes.

And, for me, it's just about doing all I can to execute the game plan. Taking what the defense gives. Just executing the calls and the reads as they are.

I have tremendous faith in everyone around me and the coaching staff. So I don't feel that I have to do something that's out of character or out of the reads or go off script. It's all about believing in the game plan, believing in the people around me, which I completely do. And just do what I've been coached to do and take what the defense gives.

Q. We just talked with Will Anderson a few minutes ago. And I was asking him about his thoughts on the social media phenomenon going on with the karate emoji. He claims he has no idea about what that's about -- the celebration, and he said it's an offense thing. Is he lying, number one? Does he know what it is? And how do you feel about that whole thing spreading like wildfire?

BRYCE YOUNG: Just the celebrations in the end zone?

Q. He claims he has no idea, that that's an offensive thing and he doesn't know why you do it.

BRYCE YOUNG: The celebrations. I believe him if he says it. That's kind of been our thing throughout the year, those karate kid celebrations. I mean, I believe him. I don't think he has a reason to lie.

But I mean, I can see it. He's probably on the sideline, knowing Will, he's on the sideline firing someone up or locked in when we're out there. If he says it, I believe it.

Q. As a younger player, how would you describe the relationship you have with your senior running back Brian Robinson Jr.?

BRYCE YOUNG: Me and B-Rob are super close. Lockers are right next to each other so I get to see him, be around him all the time. And then obviously on the field. But B-Rob is someone I've been cool with since I first got here. Someone who is from Tuscaloosa, someone who has been in the program for a while.

And when I first got here he was someone who was always super cool with me, someone who was super welcoming when I was just a freshman. That means a lot to me, for him last year, being here as long as he did, he didn't have to go out of his way to make sure I was good and to look out for me as just a freshman. But he made a priority to do that. And that's always meant a lot for me, not just in football but in life for someone to do that. That's always meant a lot.

And then throughout this year, obviously, we're always on the same page and stuff. On the field, off the field, that's someone who I'm close with.

It's always great to have someone like B-Rob around and just an added bonus when it's someone that's at running back that you collaborate every single play. And it makes it so much easier when, off the field, everything is cool, too.

So it's been great being able to be around B-Rob. It's been huge for me this year, last year, and I've been blessed to have the opportunity to play with him.

Q. Want to ask you about Metchie, just the comfort, the security. Looked like you guys could play catch in the dark on some of those third downs. How do you adjust mentally to losing a guy like that that's been such a go-to player for you this season?

BRYCE YOUNG: I mean, Metchie is someone that you just can't replace. Losing Metchie was huge for us; that definitely hurt. It's really tough.

But as Coach is always saying, that creates opportunity for other people. And we had people step in the wake of that. We've had a little bit of time to adjust. And people have stepped up in games. Second half, SEC Championship and in the Cincinnati game, people stepped up and are going to continue to do that. And in practice, the same thing.

It's not something you can replace, someone like Metchie, just someone that you can just plug someone else in and get the same from. It definitely hurt.

But at the same time again it creates opportunities for others. And I have tremendous confidence in everyone at the position just being able to work with them throughout the week and seeing the work they put in.

It's tough, but as Coach said, it's an opportunity for people -- it creates opportunity when something like that happens. It's just having the next-man-up mentality.

Q. We talked a lot about a rematch in the media. And I'm just curious, given that you guys try to play to a certain standard regardless of who the opponent is, and given that the stakes are for the national championship, has Coach Saban even brought up that this game is different because of the rematch, has he brought that up at all with y'all?

BRYCE YOUNG: For us, it's all about -- really what he's talking about and we understand is that what we've done in the past, obviously it's good to watch the film, it's good to learn from that, but we don't start with any more points because of anything that's happened with the past. Anything in the past is exactly that, in the past. You don't get any carry-over.

So it's going to be a new game, and we have to earn the outcome that we want. So it's really just been knowing that whatever's happened in the past doesn't entitle you to anything at all. You learn from it, but we have to understand we're playing a completely different game. We have to understand that we have to earn that for 60 minutes.

Again, it starts with preparation and day by day putting ourselves in the position to be successful when the game starts. But we understand it's different. We have to earn it. Anything that happened in the past, learn from it but it's in the past. It's on us to work day in, day out and to earn the outcome that we want.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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