TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The last few times Alabama has faced off against Ole Miss, the game has provided long, entertaining contests, with the Rebels winning two of the last three. Alabama coach Nick Saban hopes his team is prepared for an opponent who may feel they have the Tide figured out.
“I think the ultimate disrespect, sometimes, is when someone quietly thinks they got your number,” Saban said. “Our players need to understand that and, obviously, do a great job of preparing for a totally different type of game this week than what we played a week ago.”
The last two contests between these teams have been over four hours long. Saban was asked about the importance of conditioning in games that have that marathon feel to them.
“I think the key to it is you’ve got to keep the ball on offense some, but you’ve also got to get your stops on defense so you get off the field,” he said. “It’s a huge challenge, huge challenge, to be able to keep enough people in the game to stay fresh, and that’s where I think when you play these kind of games, depth is really, really important.
“Conditioning is a huge factor, but having enough depth to try to keep enough players in there is a huge factor, as well.”
The Tide will have to deal with Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson Saturday. Saban knows his defense will have a tall task stopping an offense with so much run/pass option, and even compared Patterson to one of the best SEC quarterbacks in recent memory.
“First of all, he’s got great arm talent. He’s very instinctive. Very good athlete. He can scramble and make plays,” Saban said. “When he extends plays, it’s a Johnny Manziel type of game. It’s very, very difficult on defensive players, and it takes a lot out of defensive players cause they are actually chasing the player two or three times longer in a play than a normal play.”
Alabama and Ole Miss will kick off at 8:00 p.m. Saturday night in Bryant-Denny Stadium.