What Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Crimson Tide players said about South Carolina during the team's weekly press conference.
"We had tough, physical game with these guys last year. They’re a very good football team, and I think one of the better teams relative to being very well coached on defense. They play tough, physical, have some good pass rushers and good skill guys in the secondary.
They run well. Offensively, Steve (Spurrier) always does a great job of getting his players to be efficient and effective. This year they’re able to run the ball a lot more effectively maybe than a year ago, probably because of the freshman back. (Marcus) Lattimore is really an outstanding player, and they’ve got some really good skill guys.
(Alshon) Jeffery is obviously the leading receiver on the year, and they play really sound and solid on special teams, so this is going to be a very challenging game for us. We have to continue to challenge ourselves to do the things that we need to do to get better and play our best football. Hopefully we’ve learned that when we don’t, good things don’t happen.
I know somebody is going to ask about bye weeks so I just want to clear this up for the year. Everybody out there assumes that having a bye week is an advantage. I’ve always answered that question by saying, 'I don’t know if it’s an advantage or disadvantage.' Just so everybody knows we did research on the last five years of all other 11 teams in the SEC and how they did when they had a bye week, and their record is 29-29. I’m not saying I’m right and you’re wrong, but the statistics kind of prove that it’s not an advantage or disadvantage to have a bye week, it probably depends a lot on the circumstances.”
Saban on Mark Ingram’s performance against South Carolina last season:
“I think that was one of Mark’s best games last year. It was a very difficult game for us in terms of offense. He had some success running the ball, but we didn’t have balance on our offense and it became kind of a running game for us. I’m hopeful that we can continue to get balance in our offense. Mark had an outstanding day and that was a real key for us. We scored a touchdown on defense and only scored 13 points on offense. We’re probably going to need to be more productive than that this year.”
Nose tackle Josh Chapman
On the challenge South Carolina presents
“They are a great team that is well coached. We know that we have a lot of things to prepare for. They have a great offense. I know Coach Spurrier has been there for a while now with those guys, so they are going to bring a lot to the table for us to prepare for.”
On preparing for two quarterbacks
“We prepare for all teams differently, but it is still about us going out there and doing what we have to do. It all boils down to going out there and knocking them in the mouth. That’s one thing that we pride ourselves on doing.”
On South Carolina freshman running back Marcus Lattimore
“He is a great back. I have seen him in previous games, and he is a great back coming in straight out of high school. He runs the ball well. He prides himself on getting more yards after the first hit. He is a great SEC back.”
QB Greg McElroy
On what he learned from his performance against South Carolina last year
“I learned a lot. I think I just learned a lot about myself in the fact that last year I played with a lot of false confidence. Up until the South Carolina game I wasn’t really sure what I was capable of, and I had success but a lot of that success was, I wouldn’t say lucky, but it was just fortunate. I thought a lot of good things happened to me throughout the first five or six games.
The South Carolina game really opened my eyes that if I don’t go out there prepare, understand and handle myself the right way, then I’m not going to be able to have success at this level. After that game I kind of turned the corner, and I know my statistics weren’t great against Tennessee last year, but I played pretty well in that game from a check standpoint, from a decision making standpoint and then that kind of carried over to the rest of the games.
Last year for South Carolina, although it wasn’t a very good game for me, it was a turning point in my mindset, the way I handle myself and the way I prepare for games.”
Safety Robert Lester
On the potential of facing two quarterbacks against South Carolina
“We just have to game plan for those things. The quarterback is going to come in, do what he’s got to do and we’re going to sit back there and whoever is in, we’ll just do our game plan and execute.”
Running back Mark Ingram
On his performance last year against South Carolina
“From a running game standpoint, we ran the ball very well. The line did a tremendous job of creating seams and holes for us to run through. It was just a great game for us. The game was still kind of close toward the end, and they just put me in the Wildcat, for I think four, five, or six straight snaps. I just wanted to get down there and put the nail in the coffin. I really just wanted to make a play for the team.”