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January 8, 2022

Brian Robinson Jr.

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Lucas Oil Stadium

Alabama Crimson Tide

Press Conference

Q. Brian, you guys had some close calls during the regular season, the LSU game, Auburn, Florida. What has made you guys -- but you've been dominant in the postseason in these games -- what's been the difference? Why have you all been so much better in these last two games than you were maybe in some of the games in the regular season?

BRIAN ROBINSON JR.: I think some of those close calls we had during the season just helped us just play to the final second of the game. And we had to battle with a team all the way to the end of the game. And with those experiences just going into other games, we have experienced just playing to the last second, so we know what we're comfortable with coming from behind or playing from behind, seven to 10 points. And also just playing a full game and getting the team's best out of them for 60 minutes.

That's kind of helped us going into bigger games and kind of expect teams to play us for a whole 60 minutes. And we just had to prepare to have to play full games and we'll get every team's best for the full game.

Q. Obviously the lights are really bright for the biggest game of the year, but I feel it's a bit brighter for you after the game that you had in the semifinals. Do you embrace that pressure after the monster game you have, especially with a defense like this, that's going to say bring it on to the Georgia defense?

BRIAN ROBINSON JR.: I don't really embrace the pressure only because, I mean, it's not like it's nothing I've not seen before. I've seen this team. I've seen this defense before.

Also, with these lights shining bright, I've also been under these lights before multiple times. So I have experience playing games like this under these lights and against times like Georgia. And with me already seeing Georgia, playing them one time this season, I kind of know what to expect from them.

I know what kind of personnel to expect from them. So it's not any more pressure than how it was when I played in that SEC Championship game.

Q. As one of the handful of players who experienced the national championship game against Georgia a few years back, just wondering what you remember most about that game, aside from second and 26, and whether that experience has helped lead to this moment in terms of knowing the possibilities of what you guys can accomplish?

BRIAN ROBINSON JR.: Well, really the experience with that game just helped me just understand the competition level, just Alabama and Georgia football. And if you put Alabama and Georgia football on this stage, national championship game, usually that's what it will come down to, it will come down to two teams brawling, fighting until the end.

Just with that game, we had to make several adjustments on both sides of the ball, on the offensive side of the ball and defensive side of the ball. I think I remember during that game, Najee -- Najee got a chance to step up and play a big role with some carries in the game as a freshman.

Tua got a chance to come in the second half and lead the team to a win. So everything wasn't going perfect for us that day. We still had to make some adjustments on the offensive side of the ball and defensive side. And just being a team, just preparing for the opportunity when it came. A lot of guys stepped up when their numbers were called.

Tua threw the ball to Smitty to end the game on second and 26, and both of those guys were freshmen who probably didn't play that much that year or made as many plays that year as they might have wanted to, but those guys won the championship game for us.

Q. There's always questions to ask this time of year about how long Alabama's hold over the sport will last. What is the common thing you've seen year to year from the inside that's made this program so successful?

BRIAN ROBINSON JR.: The main thing I've seen from the inside just over the years is, it don't matter who walks into this building or for whatever role, whatever coaching role or whatever player that walks into that building, it's the same type of mindset: Everybody comes in, just grinds day in, day out.

Coaches come and go. You've got players going out to the draft every year. And you've got guys who step up every year and play a significant role for this team, probably a much bigger role than they played the year before.

But it's just one of those places where you know you're going to get better with the people around you. And the coaching staff, everybody push each other to get better every year so that we can have the opportunity to play for back-to-back SEC championships and go to the playoffs back-to-back years because we prepared the same way, if not harder every year.

Q. Coach's jacket that he wore on the plane yesterday. Have you seen him wear that before? And if that's the first time, how did the team react when you guys saw that?

BRIAN ROBINSON JR.: That was probably my first time seeing Coach wear that jacket. But we was coming up here to Indianapolis. We knew it was going to be real cold outside. He told us to grab a coat.

We reacted to -- that was the coat he grabbed to keep him so warm for that time being down here.

Q. You've been in Tuscaloosa for a long time, specifically at Alabama. Have you had a chance to look back and reflect at your journey over the years, from a reserve running back to now starting on college football's biggest stage? What is some advice that Coach Saban or maybe someone else has given you over the years that has really stuck with you throughout this whole process?

BRIAN ROBINSON JR.: Just reflecting on my time here, it's been four or five years. Just a lot of progress I've made over the years, really just having Coach Saban just being there to motivate me, when things weren't always going my way.

Just constantly repeating, just be where your feet are and trust the process. And it's something that can go through one ear and out the other one, you hear it so much, when somebody repeats those lines so much.

But it's something that is so important and something that most people should pick up on because it can help you in situations where you've got to trust the situation that you're in, trust the process that it will lead you to where you want to go.

Q. You've mentioned how this is your fourth national championship game appearance. For some of the young guys that are going to be playing in this or on the sideline for this the first time, what's your advice to them getting ready for Monday's game?

BRIAN ROBINSON JR.: My advice to some of the younger guys playing, this is the biggest game of their career. And I don't want those guys to not be prepared for it, I want those guys to be as prepared as they possibly can for it. This is a big stage. Two great teams playing against each other. You don't want to be that one player on the team who lets the team down because you weren't prepared enough or you make mental errors or mistakes on the field that affects your side of the ball.

So my biggest advice to those guys is to prepare as hard as they possibly can so that they'll be ready for it, the opportunity to start or play a lot as a young guy.

Q. You have played with a lot of different great players at Alabama, different quarterbacks. How would you describe Bryce's mobility as being different than Tua and Jalen? And two, was there a moment when Bryce kind of won you over? A lot of times these guys come in highly ranked but obviously they have to earn their respect behind closed doors and on the field. Just comparing his mobility to Tua and Jalen and kind of your Bryce Young moment.

BRIAN ROBINSON JR.: Bryce's mobility is just different, because offensively he's a lot smaller than the other guys. So he can cover himself up real well. He can move around the pocket. He can move out of the pocket. He has speed. He has a powerful arm.

He pretty much can do everything any other quarterback can do. But the thing that just separates him is his ability to duck and avoid and shed tackles because of his size and ability to scramble and get out of the pocket.

And with Bryce, this whole year he's earned respect from not just me but everybody on the University of Alabama football team just by everything, like, just stepping up into his role and handling his business as a professional.

And he's done that on a high level all year and beside me, for a guy who is a fifth-year senior, who has been here around a lot of great players, seeing it from someone who is a lot younger than me, it's helped me -- I saw him on a level of the older guys. It made me feel good because it felt like he was mature and ready for the opportunity, he prepared himself for it, and he left no doubt every time he went out on the field.

Q. Speaking of things, that Bryce can do everything, the last couple of games where he made those pitches to you, is that something you worked on as far back as offseason workouts, or did the first that happened in a game or practice, did that take you by surprise? It's not something you see every Saturday on the football field.

BRIAN ROBINSON JR.: It really comes from our quarterback/running back chemistry, the chemistry we've built playing beside each other all year. Comes from me kind of being in the right place at the right time. And just playing football, being instinctive with the ball.

When I notice he's in trouble, I try to make myself present to where we can make a play, to fix the situation we're in. And he has his eyes open. He scans the field well. So if he ever gets in trouble and I'm anywhere near him, he'll try to find a way to just get me a ball to gain some positive yardage out of what had been a negative-yard play.

Just playing instinctive football, us just out there playing. Just when everything don't go your way, sometimes you've got to find a way to fix the situation. So that's kind of where that comes from.

Q. With this being your senior year, topping it off with another national championship appearance, what's your mentality been like going into this final game for you and your career?

BRIAN ROBINSON JR.: My mentality is just I want to lay it all on the line for my team, for my school, with this being my last time suiting up for Alabama, I just want to leave no doubt that this university is like truly in my heart, and I love it. And I'll do anything to see us come out on top one more last time before I have to leave.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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