COLUMBUS – Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Ohio State head coach Ryan Day held their final media availability and took part in a College Football Playoff National Championship joint press conference on Sunday. The two coaches answered questions about their respective teams and the preparation that got them here.
Here are the highlights.
+ They appreciate the opportunity to play in this game. He thanks the College Football Playoff for working hard to get this done. They have a lot of respect for what Ohio State has done this year.
+ On his seniors, they set a standard of excellence, but they have also been important in their leadership and how they have impacted players. The 2017 class was outstanding and they have made a significant impact.
+ On Jaylen Waddle, Saban said he has been able to practice but the biggest challenge is sustaining a game. It will be a game-time decision.
+ On Malachi Moore, Saban said the defensive back is very questionable. Defensive lineman LaBryan Ray is more probable.
+ The coaches who will or could be moving on from the program after this season have handled the preparation for this game well. “I have no complaints at all.”
+ On facing Trey Sermon, Saban said Sermon is a really really good player. They have a good scheme with the balance they create and with the weapons they have. Sermon has played extremely well. “I think he’s an outstanding player.”
+ His team has shown a lot of maturity and perseverance throughout the season. The teams that best handles the disruption is going to win.
+ On the success of his other teams at Alabama, Saban said every team has its own personality. “It’s hard to compare teams.” The personality of this team has been really good and he is proud of what this group is able to accomplish.
+ The guys are elated to be a part of this. Nick Saban is one of the greatest coaches in all of college football and Alabama has great players.
+ So many teams have learned a lot about themselves and overcoming adversity. At some point they will sit back and look at the road to get here because it certainly has been strange.
+ On the tight ends against Clemson, Day said the tight ends have grown all year, they are one of the most experienced groups on the team. “To see them make some plays in the pass game was huge.” They will also need to play their best against Alabama.
+ The 2018 class is tremendous. “They pushed to get on the field early and they’ve made their impact felt because of that they have an opportunity to play in this game.”
+ “No one ever talks about getting to the National Championship, they talk about winning the National Championship.” There are goals along the way, but the ultimate goal is to win it all.
+ Any minute reflecting on the season is a distraction. They have too good of an opponent and need to play really good and that’s where the focus is.
+ “It comes down to executing your job.”
+ On what this game could look like, Day said they need to take it one play at a time and see how things play out. “They are as talented an offense and play as clean as any I’ve seen.”
+ On Alabama, “there are so many things they do a great job of.”
+ Justin Fields has had a good week of practice leading up to the game. He did a good job of preparing for the Sugar Bowl and did that again this week.
+ Najee Harris is playing at a high level this season. “He’s running really hard.” He’s probably the most versatile guy they have seen all year.
+ On his offensive coaching style, Day said the art of coaching college football is adjusting your scheme to the personnel you have to put them in the best positions to be successful. They don’t plug guys in a system, they adapt year after year.