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January 5, 2010

Nick Saban


THE MODERATOR: Welcome, Coach. If we could have you make an opening comment.
COACH SABAN: First of all, I'd like to thank everyone from the Tournament of Roses for doing such a fantastic job for everybody in our organization, our players, our coaches, our administrative family, our entire team in terms of the hospitality. This is certainly a first-class event in every way. It's a great opportunity for our players to have an opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl and in the National Championship game.
And at this point it's almost like getting on a flight; it takes a long time to board and check your bags and all that kind of stuff, but now we're ready to take off, and you've got to go through your checklist and make sure you get it right and do it right and get ready to go out there and play your best game of the year.
This has been a wonderful experience for our entire team, including our fans and everybody that has anything to do with Alabama football.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach. Again, we'll open up the room.

Q. (Inaudible.)
COACH SABAN: I think the most important thing is getting our players focused on playing in the game, and there's obviously a lot of distractions in any Bowl game, especially in a circumstance like this one, and I think we've handled that with quite a bit of maturity in terms of the way we've been able to focus on practice and doing things right and playing against a very good Texas team. So I'm pleased, but you never really know until you get out there and start playing. Players sort of always go through a learning process, and hopefully they can learn to deal with this process and still be able to play their best football.
You know, winning is simple; behavior is complicated. You know, the game will be won or lost based on blocking and tackling and execution and effort and all those types of things that you've been playing with all year, but that behavior surrounding the circumstances like this game is why you've got to focus.

Q. Before the team goes out on the field, how do you approach that? Do you try to get them piped up? Do you try to relax them?
COACH SABAN: I think we want to get our players to focus on the simple things that it takes to play good football, which is what they've focused on all year, the consistency and performance that gave them an opportunity to be here. You know, those are the kind of things that we'll try to emphasize when we go out on the field. I don't think emotion is going to be a problem in a game like this, but channeling that emotion in the right direction and having the right balance of intensity and focus to be able to execute is really what you want to try to get your team to do.

Q. Can you talk about the challenges Colt McCoy poses for you guys?
COACH SABAN: He's an outstanding quarterback. He completes over 70 percent of his passes. They've got a good receiving game. They certainly do have an ability to create balance in their offense with the run, and I think he does an outstanding job of executing their offense. It's a no-huddle offense and high tempo in terms of how they try to make the defense play to defend them. I think he does as fine a job as anybody in the country in terms of executing what they want him to do.

Q. How much does your relationship with Will Muschamp have an impact on this game?
COACH SABAN: Will is a fantastic coach everywhere he's been. He certainly did an outstanding job for us. I don't really know that you can take things like that and make it a factor in the game. We know a little bit about what they do, they know a little bit about what we do. But in games like this, you've got to make what you do work with your players relative to what the other team does and technically what you have to do to defend what they do. He has to do it for our offense; we have to do it for their offense. Those two things are probably a little bit different in this game for both of us.
So he's a fine coach and he's done a great job, but I'm not sure what we can do to remedy that at this point. This is not the first time we've ever played against somebody that's worked for us in the past, but we have a tremendous amount of respect for what he does and how he does it, and they've got a great defensive team. They've got very good players. They play hard. They're disciplined in terms of their execution. They're physical in what they do, and it's going to be a challenge for us to create the balance we need to be successful in the game.

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