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Saban: ‘We just couldn’t get the mental energy, intensity we needed’

Nick Saban AP

All week long, when pundits discussed the chances of Texas A&M upsetting Alabama, they invariably pointed to the emotional toll the Tide’s win over LSU last weekend as something that could swing the game in the Aggies’ favor.

In the aftermath of A&M’s stunning upset of the No. 1 team in the country, and at least to some extent, the Tide’s head coach agreed.

The past four weekends, the Tide has faced three teams that were, at the time, ranked inside the Top 15 as well as its annual cross-division rival in Tennessee.  When asked specifically about the Tigers game taking too much out of the team, Saban uncharacteristically leaned on the emotional crutch graciously provided to him by the reporter.

“I think the players refocused and really tried and it seemed like early in the week we were pretty good, but later in the week, emotionally, I’m not really talking about physically, we just couldn’t seem to get the kind of mental energy and intensity that we needed to play against this kind of team,” the coach said in quotes distributed by the team. “We have had a pretty tough stretch here, and that’s no excuse but, Mississippi State, LSU, and this game – playing at Tennessee, which is a big game for us emotionally.”

To Saban’s credit, it wasn’t even remotely all about what his Tide didn’t have or what may have been lacking in their emotional reserves.  As everyone saw, and whether they’re new to the SEC or not, A&M is one hell of a football team as Saban readily acknowledged.

“[Y]ou have to really congratulate Texas A&M. They played a tremendous game and certainly outplayed us in the game today,” Saban said. “We knew that this was going to be a difficult game and that they had a really good team. They had lost to two top-10 teams by three and five points and they are a better team now that they were then, because the quarterback is playing better every week.

“We were going to need to play our best game today and we didn’t do it and that’s my responsibility.”

The good news for Saban and the Tide is that this is far from a lost season.  The SEC West title is still well within their reach, as is a spot in the BcS title game if certain dominoes fall their way.

Even better?  Of the 23 current starters — 12 listed on the offense — 16 of them are underclassmen and, barring early leaps for the NFL, would return in 2013.  On the two-deep depth chart, 36 of the 46 players are non-seniors.

So, yeah, the Tide will be loaded with talent again in 2013 — talent with the benefit of an additional year’s worth of experience, it should be noted.

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42 Responses to “Saban: ‘We just couldn’t get the mental energy, intensity we needed’”
  1. barbeaux says: Nov 11, 2012 1:22 AM

    They were mostly outplayed the week before. All teams have a streak of difficulty to overcome.

  2. mikefoxtrottango says: Nov 11, 2012 1:44 AM

    The Aggies have played 3 teams in the Top 15 the past 4 weeks, too. Never heard anyone complain about it, though.

  3. strauhal says: Nov 11, 2012 2:56 AM

    Yeah, boohoo for saban. His team: “we had to wlay all doz weely haud teams, mommie!!” What about all the teams that had to play his team? Or what about every football team out there having to play any football game? Alabama should have stepped it up and come with a victory. The didn’t. Done. Now it’s Oregon and Kansas States turn.

  4. lgwelsh1 says: Nov 11, 2012 3:14 AM

    The better team won today, nothing else needs to said.

  5. jessejames182 says: Nov 11, 2012 3:38 AM

    Saban is taking notice because sumlin and johnny football aren’t gonna fold for LSU and Alabama, they’ve got one more team to worry about. They’re are no free rides in the SEC, thanks and gig’em.

  6. imacdane says: Nov 11, 2012 6:21 AM

    A&M doesn’t have a week off all season and were playing there third straight road game, and their third game against a ranked opponent in their the last four games….but yeah real tough scheduling break for bama.

  7. alligatorsnapper says: Nov 11, 2012 6:48 AM

    I joined with southernpatriots and welcomed Texas A&M to the SEC even before they officially joined in July of 2011. I knew rekindling the rivalry between the Aggies and Tigers would be a great football series, as it was before. I have several Aggies in my family and work with both Aggies and Longhorns in my career. Congratulations to A&M on a well played game and Manziel on a great game and victory. Aggie defense was great also!

    I’ve got to post this about our former coach and now coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide:

    Nick Saban is a most extraordinary and successful college football coach. He has unparalleled success in the past few years with National Championships. I have watched his pre-game and post-game interviews along with his weekly press conferences along with those of Les Miles. I know the men are different. Miles has fun and his players have fun playing for him. Saban is much more serious and studious.

    Over the past 6 weeks or more, I have noticed Saban does not seem to be enjoying even the wins of Alabama like he once did. He seems to be relieved (as tigersgeux posted on another thread). He does not seem to be enjoying coaching. That will affect the coaching of the players. Saban needs a break, maybe a vacation.

    Saban needs to talk to Miles on how he deals with the pressure and has a great time with his young daughter and her desire to dress up for Halloween as a go-go dancer and his other children old enough now (mid and late teens) that they don’t want anything to do with “trick or treat.” A funny story that anyone with a young child and teenagers find familiar. Miles can relate to Saban how he drives his young daughter Macy to school every morning (just like I do my daughter). Miles has a great family life and a life apart from football. That helps lessen the pressure of the media limelight and top ranking, etc.

  8. novoodoo4409 says: Nov 11, 2012 7:16 AM

    Bet whittle Nicky pulled out all his hair plugs last night….this loss could not have happened to a better fan base and coach….hope the misery lasts for weeks….hey, deb, finebaum, all the other rednecks…where are you? Crickets…..gig em and geaux tigers….lmao…

  9. WingT says: Nov 11, 2012 7:47 AM

    @novoododo
    Nice, mature post.

    You can’t win them all but that old saying doesn’t mean you can’t try to .

    I am very proud of the way Alabama competes. I am especially proud of the way the team embraces sportsmanship and doing the right things – all a result of Nick Saban and his process.

    Criticize all you want novoododo, but at the end of the day it’s hard to argue with the results.

    roll tide

  10. norcalirish says: Nov 11, 2012 8:06 AM

    Let’s be real: Alabama was beaten (some would say dominated) by two opponents in as many weeks. If it wasn’t for LSU mad hatting away the win we’re looking at a two loss team.

    Its tough to go undefeated, and alabama is a good team, but I’ve had them at #4 for weeks and would always smirk at the “alabama could play in the nfl talk”. I took a look at their schedule and said “prove it”…one “win” over a currently ranked team doesn’t cut it.

    So, if the tide DID have a hangover it must have been from all of the cupcakes they had been feasting on before lsu. The sugary snack diet gave way to the comatose malaise that we saw these last two weeks.

    All that being said, I’m not sure who is #1. Eye test says Oregon, even tho they looked terrible for 3 quarters tonight against cal and haven’t played a tough schedule yet. Next week will tell.

    K state and ND were both equally unimpressive today, but ND has a tougher schedule and more quality wins against common opponents. We’ve also had some luck….but at this point, most teams have.

    Body of work:

    1. Notre Dame
    2. K State
    3. Oregon

    Realistically:

    1. Oregon
    2. Notre Dame
    3. K-State

  11. cometkazie says: Nov 11, 2012 8:49 AM

    alligatorsnapper says:
    Nov 11, 2012 6:48 AM

    I’ve got to post this about our former coach and now coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide:
    +-+-+

    Very well said, esp the part about Saban not having fun and Miles’ family life.

    I think Saban’s two kids are college age now. I know when Miles’ oldest daughter competed in the track meets I officiated, he was in the stands.

    Is their a credible site that gives a current strength of schedule rating?

  12. goodfieldnohit says: Nov 11, 2012 9:20 AM

    @Nick Saban, don’t tell the world your guys didn’t play well. Tell the world that A&M came to play. #lame

    What do Texas A&M and the Moon have in common?

    they both control the Tide…

  13. onbucky96 says: Nov 11, 2012 9:27 AM

    3 words…SUCK IT SABAN!

  14. tlmoon2112 says: Nov 11, 2012 9:41 AM

    For a guy that started his press Conf with “I take full responsibility for this loss and make no excuses for it”, he sure seems to have a lot of excuses. That’s the character, or lack thereof, rearing its ugly head again going back to “I am not the next head football coach at Alabama”.

  15. florida727 says: Nov 11, 2012 10:14 AM

    I really do get a kick out of the SEC haters on CFT. Whether you’ll admit it or not, and the prevailing reality is you won’t because your ego wouldn’t allow it, the SEC has proven once again why it’s the best overall conference in America,

    Texas A&M loses to Florida and LSU.

    LSU loses to Florida and Alabama.

    Alabama loses to Texas A&M.

    Florida loses to Georgia.

    Georgia loses to South Carolina.

    South Carolina loses to Florida.

    No conference in America week-in and week-out beats itself up like the SEC. It’s proven by the quality of play. It’s proven by the results on the field. And it’s proven by its run of 6 consecutive national championships. The run will end; I’ve said all along sports is and always has been cyclical. To criticize the conference as being other than the best, or at least among the best, year-in and year-out just shows how idiotic some people are. Be a fan of your team. Enjoy their accomplishments. That’s what being a “fan” is all about. But saying someone else is overrated shows how ignorant you are.

  16. polegojim says: Nov 11, 2012 10:55 AM

    Saban is the real deal period.

    Make Alabama THE National Perennial Power in rapid form, and hasn’t faultered or looked back.

    Congrats to T-AM on a great win.

    Congrats to Saban and Bama for the excellence achieved and the lofty goal they’ve helped ALL NCAA football shoot for.

    Go BLUE!

  17. amosalanzostagg says: Nov 11, 2012 10:57 AM

    As a Bama Grad who attended the game, some
    observations.

    1. Manizel shows a level of on field poise and leadership that is way beyond the level of a red shirt
    freshman,

    2. Bama defense, like last week, was on fumes going into the fourth quarter. It looked to be more conditioning, both mentally and physically, that did the Bama players in.

    3. Conversely, A&M was having a mini mosh pit in front of their bench. They had focus, they had energy, and they had the lead @ Bryant-Denny, they were not going to let themselves beat themselves. Bama would have to do it.

    4. A&M is for real. They have a balanced attack and a defense that is scary good.

    5. The better team won.

    Congrats Aggies! you made Poppa Bear proud

    Roll Tide

  18. normtide says: Nov 11, 2012 11:13 AM

    Someone said Bama was dominated the last two weeks? We won last week, had could have won this week. Domination is what happened in the title game last year. Also, Bama will be the highest ranked one loss team. This is a team no one will want to play in a bowl. I also know every fan on this board would love to have our last for seasons for their teams. Two titles on three years and a one loss season after that. Life is still awesome for the crimson tide fans. Roll tide y’all.

  19. trey29 says: Nov 11, 2012 11:57 AM

    My tigers took to much out of them last week, I was there insaneee

  20. kozbee says: Nov 11, 2012 12:39 PM

    IMO A&M played a much better game with speed and few flags to pull this win off.Johnny always seemed to move the ball in the air and ground,a good QB for the pros in the future.Aggies defense was superb to stop the run and force the ball in the air in which interceptions played a big part in the win.Great game and win for the Aggies and even though a Bama loss surely won`t keep them out of the playoffs.Bama finish the season with wins they will be playing for a NC in the playoffs.Goodluck Bama.

  21. texasbornlsufan says: Nov 11, 2012 12:50 PM

    Norm tide

    LSU will play you in any bowl you would like! Give us our re-match!

  22. normtide says: Nov 11, 2012 1:00 PM

    Txslsu- Sounds good to me, but doubt that happens. The good news is, ever year is a rematch between us. After getting a win in death valley at night, I would like our chances at a neutral sight, or even NOLA. Last time was a blast.

  23. roltyd says: Nov 11, 2012 1:26 PM

    Saban’s statement was wordsmith for, “We were tired at the end.” The offensive and defensive lines were too tired to make it happen. To go to the pass so often inside the ten at the end was because the O-line could not produce the holes needed for the running game to be successful in the red zone.

    Move on, prepare for little brother, practice on Western Carolina, get ready for UGA in the Dome.

  24. Deb says: Nov 11, 2012 1:29 PM

    Saban will be damned for his comments no matter what he says in his press conferences. That’s just a fact of life. As for comparing how Saban handles the game with how Miles handles the game … they’re very different personalities. That was evident last year when they sat together at the Heisman ceremony. Miles is a much more outgoing and gregarious person.

    Saban came from the Belichick coaching tree, and he’s much more like Belichick in how he responds on the field and off. It’s impossible to gauge what’s going on in the head of someone you don’t know personally.

    As a Bama fan, I’m a little relieved by this loss. After seeing some of our weaknesses, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, exposed in last week’s LSU game, I wasn’t altogether surprised by this outcome. A&M is a strong team with a terrific QB. And I’d rather see the Tide lose to an SEC team–and the Aggies are an SEC team no matter what Big 12 fans want to tell themselves–than see them fall to an outsider. I’m just proud they took it down to the end and never gave up. These are young players who will be back to contend next season, a better and wiser team. Meanwhile, they can still represent the West in the SEC Championship.

  25. frank booth says: Nov 11, 2012 1:37 PM

    florida727 says:Nov 11, 2012 10:14 AM

    I really do get a kick out of the SEC haters on CFT. Whether you’ll admit it or not, and the prevailing reality is you won’t because your ego wouldn’t allow it, the SEC has proven once again why it’s the best overall conference in America,

    Texas A&M loses to Florida and LSU.

    LSU loses to Florida and Alabama.

    Alabama loses to Texas A&M.

    Florida loses to Georgia.

    Georgia loses to South Carolina.

    South Carolina loses to Florida.

    No conference in America week-in and week-out beats itself up like the SEC. It’s proven by the quality of play. It’s proven by the results on the field. And it’s proven by its run of 6 consecutive national championships. The run will end; I’ve said all along sports is and always has been cyclical. To criticize the conference as being other than the best, or at least among the best, year-in and year-out just shows how idiotic some people are. Be a fan of your team. Enjoy their accomplishments. That’s what being a “fan” is all about. But saying someone else is overrated shows how ignorant you are.
    ==================================
    So really, all you’ve proven here is that different teams will beat other teams within their conference. That’s all. It may also speak to the fact that some of these teams have weak non-conference schedules.

    Of course the SEC is one of the best overall conferences, if not the best. But your post only shows that teams beat other teams in their conference. Nothing more.

  26. texasbornlsufan says: Nov 11, 2012 2:38 PM

    Norm pretty obvious you were damn lucky in Death Hot bodan cold kuskus come on katie push push pushValley and it’s obvious you don’t have the team you had in NOLA. Last Year when you Bama fans lost all you heard was all that crying about the better team lost and it was true and proven in the National Championship. This year is a different story as it was clear the Tigers were the better team. The Aggie’s showed Bama is not the team they were made to be by the media.

  27. normtide says: Nov 11, 2012 2:55 PM

    Tx- LSU played their best game all year, and was only up 3 with a minute left, with 45 second left you were down by 4. LSU played great, I give them a lot of credit. But, Bama was there with you, hence the tight score. So your saying LSU would do better away from death valley? The fact is, your ecstatic just because it was a close game. I am still very happy with this team, they made a great run at back to back titles. There are 120 fbs teams out there that would love to be where Bama is, to have our record for the last 4 years, and to have out outlook got the next few years.

  28. abrellbama says: Nov 11, 2012 3:12 PM

    It had NOTHING to do with energy and intensity. It had everything to do with the playcalling, just like it did last weekend. Coach Saban, Bama is a run first pass second team and always has been. What happened to the run? I asked that question after the game last weekend. Bama was running great against LSU. Why did you abandon the run? Bama ran well against TAMU. Why did you abandon the run again? I don’t understand why you stopped what Bama does best? It doesn’t make sense.

  29. bunyanj says: Nov 11, 2012 5:06 PM

    Poor old Nick. His alibi is the lack of mental energy after playing some tough teams in the SEC. Maybe Alabama could move to Conference USA so they conserve their intensity and mental energy to play in the Humanitarian Bowl. The SEC is not going to get any easier, which is what I guess Nick wants. Once they are in Conference USA they would be able to claim a National Championsip every year like the ones where they had a .500 record or got the championship from a Readers Digest poll.

  30. miamicanes1 says: Nov 11, 2012 5:11 PM

    “We have had a pretty tough stretch here, and that’s no excuse but, Mississippi State, LSU, and this game – playing at Tennessee, which is a big game for us emotionally.”

    After the close win over Boston College, Miami went on to win over #14 Syracuse, 59-0, and #12 Washington, 65-7, in consecutive weeks in the Orange Bowl. The combined 124-7 score is an NCAA record for largest margin of victory over consecutive ranked opponents. Miami 2001
    nuff said

  31. gamustangdude says: Nov 11, 2012 5:44 PM

    @Frank Both

    Correction, the SEC IS the best conference. I love how people like you complain about the SEC’s OOC schedule while negating the difficult Conference Schedule. No other conference has teams than can Compete with the SEC from top to bottom. Big 12, after you get by Kansas State the Big 12 is a joke. PAC-12, after you get by Oregan the PAC-12 is a joke. Actually I think the PAC-12 is tougher than the Big-12. SEC has been the best for a long time, even before the 6 straight Titles. It was tough for SEC teams to make it to the title game because you could easily expect one loss given the gauntlet. This season just further demonstrates that point.

  32. gamustangdude says: Nov 11, 2012 5:52 PM

    meant Frank Booth,

    Sorry misspelled your name

  33. texasbornlsufan says: Nov 11, 2012 6:01 PM

    It’s amazing how cocky BAMA fans are until they lose and then it’s o I expected it and now we just need to get ready foe SEC Championship. Hell couple weeks ago they could beat NFL teams! What a Joke! Can’t wait for the stupid Fienbuem show tomorrow to hear all the if we did this if we did that BS that will be flowing

  34. bamatide21 says: Nov 11, 2012 11:36 PM

    This blows my mind how cocky you retards from all these other schools get, because you beat Alabama. When you win 14 National Titles you deserve the right to talk crap. I do know this all of you have a long way to go Roll Tide. I agree Tide Lost but it was squandered, by mistakes, it wasn’t a beat down. Fumbles, Interceptions, it was there worst game. I am not saying A&M isn’t a good team but they are not the better team look at your rankings……………..

  35. Deb says: Nov 11, 2012 11:56 PM

    @texasbornlsufan …

    Not sure where your post is directed since you used a shotgun and blasted all Bama fans as one. I didn’t expect to lose to A&M, but wasn’t surprised. They’ve concerned me for a few weeks now and I figured the team was probably more up for LSU. Not sure why it’s a bad thing to say you’re not surprised that your team didn’t run the table after seeing their weaknesses exposed. But then I’ve learned anything you post on CFT–even if it congratulates another team or criticizes your own–will get you blasted by your rivals. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. So I just post what I really think and damn the consequences.

    I really think we were played by a heckuva good team last week. And we were outplayed by an even better team this week. Bama’s defense is young and its weaknesses have been exposed in the last two weeks. Personally, I’d prefer to be exposed in the regular season by other SEC teams than in a title game. Yes, I’m happy we still get to represent in the SEC Championship. Wouldn’t you be? It’s possible we could still wind up in the title game, but based on the last two weeks, I don’t think this team is ready.

  36. bunyanj says: Nov 12, 2012 1:33 AM

    bamatide21,

    The 14 titles include the the Readers Digest and and the .500 season plus a few other questionable ones. Got 14? No, and neither does Alabama. You and Deb need to get a life. You are both sicko Bammers. Get off the internet and food stamps to save our country.

  37. tide4life says: Nov 12, 2012 8:52 AM

    I see that even after a Bama loss, jealousy, sour grapes and bitter herbs reign supreme in the ignorant darkness outside the SEC. Well, idiots are gonna be idiots, so enough about them . . .
    The fact is- A loss was inevitable, and the trouble with the inevitable is that it always happens. No team stays on top. The Tide was going down at some point, and better to fall to a danmed fine, able, talented and well-led team like Texas A&M, who played flawlessly, played hard and won the game, than to a bunch of non-conference posers who have their own special little section at NBC Sports every year. A&M dominated and earned that win. Well done, Aggies, and welcome to the SEC. The ride just got more interesting!

  38. normtide says: Nov 12, 2012 10:11 AM

    That’s how you know your that good, people love it when you lose a game. Ofc, most fans here know their team could not have done it. No shame in losing to a good team, not like we got beat by 20 points or shut out. Bama is still a force, for years to come. This is why there SEC wanted a play off, cause it is hard to get through this league undefeated. Roll tide, year ain’t over yet baby.

  39. greggatx says: Nov 12, 2012 11:57 AM

    The sec is a weaker conference this year. To have a Big 12 style offence come in and roll y’all over says a lot. Big 12 teams battle each other week after week with bruising games. The tide struggled the two previous weeks so it’s no surprise they fell. With the politics in this game even a one loss sec team will probably go to the nc even if the top three go undefeated. Would like to see K-State and Oregon battle it out. Klein should win the Heisman this year.

  40. canehouse says: Nov 12, 2012 12:19 PM

    Good to see Coach Saban out smarted… Sumlin is the real deal!

  41. tide61 says: Nov 12, 2012 1:13 PM

    bunyanj,

    A quick review of the record shows Bama’s 14 National Title record as follows:

    1925: 10-0
    1926: 9-0-1
    1930: 10-0
    1934: 10-0
    1941: 9-2
    1961: 11-0
    1964: 10-1
    1965: 9-1-1
    1973: 11-1
    1978: 11-1
    1979: 12-0
    1992: 13-0
    2009: 14-0
    2011: 12-1

    No .500 seasons, and no Reader’s Digest there. Not saying there wern’t controversial decisions made Bama’s way…there certainly were, but we’ve had controversy both ways. For instanse, Bama went 10-0 in 1945, and (maybe the most controversial NC decision of all time) 11-0 in ’66 when Notre Dame won the NC with a 9-0-1 record. In any case, You might want to get your FACTS straight before you spout off to others. BTW, what team do you pull for…didn’t notice you saying anything about that??? ROLL TIDE!

  42. mike693466 says: Nov 12, 2012 2:56 PM

    I HATE THAT BAMA LOST THIS GAME. BUT STILL IT SHOWED THAT BAMA PLAYED A BAD GAME AND A&M HAD TO PLAY GREAT AND STILL WAS ONLY ABLE TO WIN ON A BAMA MISTAKE. BUT I DO WISH NEXT TIME A REF WILL BE FAIR ON THE HELMRNT TO HELMENT CALLS. A&M GOT A NO CALL IN A IMPORTANT PART OF THE GAME. IF YOUR GONNA CALL ONE TEAM FOR IT CALL BOTH TEAMS FOR IT WHEN IT HAPPENS. I’M NOT SAYING IT COST THE GAME FOR BAMA AND I HATE THE CALLS FOR THAT. THIS IS FOOTBALL AND IT’S GONNA HAPPEN. SO LET THE PLAYERS PLAY.

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