'Wow what a game:' Everything Alabama football coach Nick Saban said after the Iron Bowl

Maxwell Donaldson
The Tuscaloosa News

Here's everything Alabama football coach Nick Saban said in his news conference after the Crimson Tide's four-overtime Iron Bowl victory at Auburn:

Opening statement:

Well I think they name some of these games in the series, the Iron Bowl, because they are great games, great comebacks. I can't tell you how proud I am of the way our players kept competing in the game. Over over over we came up with plays when we needed to come up with plays.

We struggled offensively in the first half, put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, played man to man, made some good adjustments at halftime, did a much a better job in the second half of moving the ball. Always didn't pan out for us, but man you can not ever imagine players competing in a game any better than they competed in this game. I'm talking about the defense getting stops when they needed to, the offense going on a whatever that was, 90-something yard drive to tie the game. Players playing and making plays that hadn't played much this year that were young players. After halftime it seemed that everyone was all in and we were fighting like I've never seen us fight all year long. It's a great feeling, players were as happy as ever that I've seen them after a game.

Give Auburn a lot of credit: Their players really played well in the game, they played hard, their defense really played an outstanding game. Our receivers and Bryce made plays down the stretch and that was the difference in the game. Wow what a game.

Nov 27, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban is upset with officials after a call that went against the Crimson Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Alabama defeated Auburn 24-22 in four overtimes. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Report Card:Report card: Did pulling it out in OT give Alabama football a passing grade vs. Auburn?

Observations:Alabama football escapes Auburn with thrilling 4-overtime victory in Iron Bowl

On having a game go Alabama's way at Jordan-Hare:

You know I just had a feeling, that the way we were playing on defense, that we were going to have some opportunities and be able to come back into the game. Now I thought that was not a good feeling when we botched the first field goal snap and didn't come out with any points on that drive that would've made it 10-3 but it feels really good.

More than anything else, sometimes should you equate what you accomplish in this profession on how many games you win or how many winners you help to develop so that they not only have a chance to be winners on the field but in life – and the way these guys sort of overcame adversity in this game showed great resilience in the way they performed, and I said that to them in the locker room after the game, this is something you should always remember; that when you put your best foot forward and you fight and you really believe in something and you do it together as a group, what you can accomplish, so that might happen to you sometime in your life too; but anyway it feels good, it feels really good to come back and get a win.

On second-half adjustments 

They were really playing well, they were being very aggressive we couldn't run the ball very well, couldn't block them up front, getting beat pass-protection, started trying to get the ball out a little quicker using RPOs that loosened them up a little bit and helped our running game a little bit in the second half, but the big thing was that we tried to get the ball out of our hand quickly. Bryce did a pretty good job of that; and I tell you what, guys made some pretty clutch plays man, there was some big-time catches out there on fourth down, scoring the touchdown – No. 7 (Ja'Corey Brooks), that was a great catch, good throw by Bryce. Metchie with a good move on the in-and-out on the 2-point to win the game. Kool-Aid made a big play to stop their 2-point. So you know there's a lot of things that we had to fix, but one thing that you can say whether its technical or not technical or not technical is that fact that the players really played hard and wanted to win the game and made some outstanding effort to do it.

What the win means to him

I think so, most of the time I remember the ones we lose but I think I'll remember this one because of the way the players competed in the game. It was great comeback there was many times that we could've thrown in the towel and said 'they have the ball in great field position if they score one more time this game probably is over' and we would always get a sack or stop. Its the feeling of being on a team, its a feeling of a togetherness of everyone making a commitment to support each other, be positive, trust and believe in each other enough to go out there and make the kind of plays that they made especially to end the game that makes it a special win. You don't experience a lot so when you do and we certainly did tonight you always remember it.

On changes to the offensive line

We were struggling in pass protection at right tackle so we thought Chris (Owens) could a little better job, little more experience. He did do a good job, Chris couldn't play center and right tackle and I thought Seth (McLaughlin) did a really good job. Darian (Dalcourt) is just fighting this ankle injury and it was hampering him a little bit in the first half so I told him 'look man I know you want to play but you have to be honest, if you can't do your job well. Nobody questions how tough you are.' We finally replace him and I think Seth did a nice job.

On more second half offensive adjustments/ execution

Well amazingly I think we executed what we did a little better, I told the offense at halftime these guys are dictating the game to us, we need to dictate the game to them by being aggressive and if we have to throw RPOs we have to throw RPOs. If we get a good box to run it, we'll run it. I think we didn't do a lot different but we did better, you got to give the players a lot of credit for their ability to overcome adversity and be able to execute in the second half.

What the message was before the final drive in regulation

It was pretty simple: you work all year long to put yourself in this position and now you have an opportunity this is the drive. Your not going to get much more opportunities than this so we got to go out and execute. This is going to be our chance and you got to make the most of it. It's what you work for all year, how many two-minutes have we had all year long and how many opportunities have we needed to go two-minute and go the length of the field, so the guys did a really job, excellent actually. 

On Bryce Young's performance 

Well, you know it wasn't Bryce's fault that he was struggling in the first half we weren't giving him much of a chance but I think he's got a lot of mental toughness, he's got a lot of grit about him. He's kind of quiet in his demeanor and they way he goes about things but always kept telling the offense 'We're going to get this right, we're going to be alright, we're going to alright.' I think the players really believe in him and when we started making a couple plays and moving the ball I think we got a little confidence and I think that helped not only him but the players around him play better which enable him to make plays that we needed him to make which he was pretty outstanding in the second half.