TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – Alabama hosts Mercer this weekend, but it’s difficult to keep from looking ahead to next Saturday’s Iron Bowl showdown that will determine the SEC West Champion.
Tide head coach Nick Saban spoke with the media Monday, recapping the win over Mississippi State, Bama’s defensive injuries and looking ahead at Saturday’s game against Mercer.
“Looking at the last game, I think there were a lot of positives in the game in terms of the way the players competed. It was really a hard, physical game. (Mississippi State) really tried to control the tempo of the game by slowing the game down. I thought that offensively, we kept pushing the envelope and eventually it paid off for us. Our ability to finish in the fourth quarter the way that we did, whether it was getting a couple stops on defense or having a couple really successful drives offensively, was impressive. It was great perseverance by our team to hang in there and keep fighting and sort of overcome ‘hard’. There was a lot of adversity in the game – some of it we created and some of it they created – but the one thing we did is that we responded and kept playing in the game.
“Looking ahead here this week, we need to focus on a lot of fundamentals and technical execution at every position, whether it’s offensive line or defensive backs, it doesn’t really matter what position it is. I think there are a lot of things that we can fundamentally execute with a little more consistency, and that’s certainly going to be the focus on what we try to get accomplished this week.
“You guys got the players of the week. With injuries, Ross (Pierschbacher) will be out for sure for this game and it’ll be a medical decision after that as to where he is. Minkah (Fitzpatrick) is going to be probably day-to-day this week as to what he can do and how he can respond to this sort of lingering injury.
“The team that we’re playing, Mercer, is a very well-coached team. They do a good job. They know what they want to do, and they do a good job of executing. They’ve done a pretty good job all year long. Obviously, for us, we always want to technically do what we have to do to get our players in the best position to be able to have a chance to be successful in the game, and use this as an opportunity for us to go out and develop confidence in our execution by the knowledge and experience that we gain in this particular game.”