Saban praises coaching staff, players in Iron Bowl rout; Says he could still ‘yell at things’ at home
The 85th Iron Bowl was a blowout win for Alabama as they defeated Auburn 42-13 in Tuscaloosa Saturday night.
Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith linked up multiple times — as has become the norm for this season. Jones actually tied the Iron Bowl record for touchdown passes with five tosses to the endzone.
Auburn could not get their offense going in this game, with Bo Nix finishing with just a 61% completion percentage. He threw for 227 yards versus Jones’ 302 yards. Nix also threw two interceptions.
The Auburn rushing attack was not as lethal as usual with Tank Bigsby playing but looking a little tender. However, the Tide defense rose up and were ready to shut down any back Auburn sent on the field.
After the game Alabama head coach Nick Saban opened up his in-home press conference saying, “I think the energy was good, you know the offense made a lot of explosive plays out there. The defense played really well, and it’s just a great team win.”
Saban was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in the week and unfortunately had to sit the 2020 Iron Bowl out and watch from home.
“I can’t really explain it, I mean this is an unusual circumstance for me to be in, to be watching from a far to see our team play from a far, and win the game,” Saban said about the game. “They were very happy that they could go out there and do a great job in this game playing at home. Last home game for a lot of the seniors… I’m really happy for our seniors and the great contribution that they have made in their career here and it’s great for them to win their last game in Bryant-Denny Stadium.”
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian took over the reins of the team for this game and did a really good job, per Saban.
Saban remarked, “I think our coaching staff did a marvelous job today. They played the situations, we had a good plan, they stayed with the plan, and executed the plan.”
“Sark did a good job of managing things,” he added. “And I sat here and felt a little helpless. But I could see things and yell at things and listen to Miss Terry cheer downstairs. It’s a little different, but it still feels good to win.”
Bama’s quarterback Jones had another amazing night, throwing for 302 yards with a 69% completion percentage and five touchdowns for the game.
However, Jones missed having Saban on the sideline to keep his confidence up and for game planning the next play.
“Not having Coach Saban is difficult, and I think obviously he did a great job preparing all of us…it was clear that we were prepared for this type of situation,” mentioned Jones.
DeVonta Smith was once again Jones’ main target, and the most productive receiver for the Crimson Tide. Smith had seven catches for 171 yards. He also caught two touchdown passes.
Asked about how he felt after the game, Smith said, “Going out there competing and at the end of the day just doing whatever I can to help the team win.”
Saban understands what this rivalry means to the state of Alabama and was happy to bring a win home for the Crimson Tide faithful.
“I’m happy for our fans who support us, I know this is a big game for a lot of the fans that support us, and it’s just a great win for us,” said Saban after the game.
Saban also had this to say about the best college football rivalry in the country: “The Iron Bowl is such a great competitive venue that means so much to so many people, and it was really hard. I did what I could do to help prepare the team throughout the week, I was involved with everything I could do until about 90 minutes before the game, and then we had to just sit and watch from a far.”
All in all, Alabama had an easy time handling Auburn at home. The Tide would like to ride this momentum into their upcoming game against LSU.
In fact, Bama already began game planning for LSU earlier in the season before the game was postponed according to Saban. “We actually had three days of work with [LSU]. Not that players are going to immediately recall all that stuff, but because we have had some experience with that, I think that will be beneficial to how we put the plan together.”
He should be back and ready to coach the Tide to another rivalry win, but just in case he isn’t due to COVID protocols, Sarkisian should have no problem managing the game for Alabama.
Jones had this to say about Sark and his ability to step in to Saban’s shoes: “Sark did a really good job. I mean it’s not easy to go in there calling plays and managing a rivalry game, and I think he did a great job too. We were really fired up before the game and I thought our energy was good, so I think everything seemed really normal.”
Hayden Crigler is a contributing college football writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @hayden_crigler.