Five quick hits from Nick Saban's interview session on Sunday's SEC Championship coaches teleconference:
1. With the winner of Saturday’s SEC Championship game headed to Miami to face Notre Dame in the national title game, the loser will not go to a BCS bowl because Florida is ranked No. 4 and will likely snag a spot in the Sugar Bowl. The maximum number of teams per conference that can play in a BCS bowl is two.
On the SEC Championship coaches teleconference Sunday afternoon, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was asked his opinion on the matter.
“For either one of these teams, it’s really not a great scenario,” he said. “It doesn’t seem quite right, but it is what it is.”
2. Alabama has the running back tandem of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, but Georgia has one too—Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall (both are freshmen).
Lacy and Yeldon have combined to rush for 1,848 yards and 24 touchdowns, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and Gurley and Marshall have racked up 1,858 yards and 22 touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. So the duos are about even.
Saban was asked about the Dawgs’ running game.
“I think that is an outstanding team because of the balance that is created by their ability to run the ball effectively with good runners, as well as having a good quarterback and good skill guys to make plays outside in the passing game,” he said.
3. Alabama and Georgia have a lot of similarities—both have pro-style offenses, 3-4 defenses, efficient, effective and experienced quarterbacks and dangerous running back tandems. Saban was asked if there are any noticeable differences heading into this game, but he answered by adding how the programs are more alike.
“There’s not a whole lot of tricks and gimmicks with us or them in terms of trying to win with execution,” he said. “I think players like that. Probably play with more confidence, really understand what their role is, what they’re supposed to do. I think if you look at it from that standpoint, there’s a lot of similarities.”
Georgia coach Mark Richt was asked a similar question. His answer on what’s different?
“They’ve been national champions and we’ve not,” he said.
4. Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who was recently named Assistant Coach of the Year by the AFCA, will undoubtedly be listed as a hot name in several head coaching searches this offseason, per usual. Saban was asked what makes Smart so effective at what he does.
“Kirby first of all has a great personality, a great competitive character about him to affect the players,” Saban said. “The players love him and respond to him extremely well…He’s as fine of an assistant as I’ve ever had.”
5. After the Crimson Tide won last year’s national championship, it’s well-known that Saban met with his returning players a couple days later and told them they did not win a national championship, that was last year’s team.
Sunday, Saban was asked if he thinks this year’s team understood what that meant.
“I think they understood right from the start,” he said. “There’s quite a few guys on this team that were on the 2010 team that probably didn’t live up to expectations after having success in 2009.
“I think at least to have some leadership and some experience in the group that saw the difference between the 2010 and 2011 team in terms of just the whole approach, the whole sort of competitive character, attitude, being hungry, whatever you want to call it, I think they realized that the legacy of this team would be defined by what they did and what last year's team did wouldn't have anything to do with that.”
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