Alabama Arrives in New Orleans for Sugar Bowl
The Alabama Crimson Tide is now here.
The team landed at Louis Armstrong International Airport Monday morning, just an hour before Kansas State’s plane was due.
The No. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats in the Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT (noon ET) on ESPN. The New Year’s Eve matchup between the Crimson Tide Tide Tide Tide Tide Tide Tide Tide Tide Tide Tide Tide Tide Tide Tide Tides and Wildcats will be the first. Both teams have a full schedule of activities and practices, including their first practice in the host city on Tuesday.
Alabama will make its 17th appearance in the Sugar Bowl with this year’s selection, owning a record of 9-7 in those contests. Most recently, the Tide defeated Clemson in the 2017 College Football Playoff Semifinal game (24-6).
Head coach Nick Saban is 15-6 in postseason games at Alabama, earning wins over Cincinnati (2022 CFP Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic), Ohio State (2021 CFP National Championship Game), Notre Dame (2021 CFP Semifinal Game at the Rose Bowl), Michigan (2019 Citrus Bowl), Oklahoma (2018 CFP Semifinal Game at the Orange Bowl), Georgia (2018 CFP National Championship Game), Clemson (2017 CFP Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the 2016 CFP National Championship Game), Washington (2016 CFP Semifinal Game at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl), Michigan State (2015 CFP Semifinal Game at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic).
Prior to the CFP, the Tide defeated the Fighting Irish (2013 BCS National Championship Game at the Orange Bowl), LSU (2012 BCS National Championship Game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl), Michigan State (2011 Capital One Bowl), Texas (2010 BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl) and Colorado (2007 Independence Bowl).
Nick Saban Transcript – December 26, 2022
COACH SABAN: “I hope everyone’s enjoying a very special holiday season. /MTk0NzI4MDY5NzI5MTAwOTYy/1p1a26 data-full-height=”26 data-full_src=”https://www.si.com/.image/c_limit,cs_srgb,fl_progressive,ccfl_progressive,ccccs_progressive,cy5MTAxMTAxMTAxMzI5MTAxMzI5MzI5MzI5MzI5MzI5Cfl_progressive,cc_ccccccccccccccccccccccccsrgb,ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccfl_cccccfl_progressive,fl_progressive,w_progressive,w_2Cfl_2Cfl_progressive,fl_progressive,3NzI5MzI5MzI5Mz2Ccccs_progressive,c2Ccs_progressive,2Cccccccs_s_2Cfl_progressive,fl_progressive,c2Cfl_ccccs_progressive,4Cfl_progressive,2C2C4C2Ccc2Cfl_progressive,fl_2C2C2C2C2C2C2C5Mz2C4C2C2C5Mz2C2C4Cfl_progressive,fl_2C5C4Cfl_4C4c2C4C5Mz2 We are looking forward to the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans against a very strong opponent. It may be one of the most exciting matchups this year, if not in the playoffs. I have a lot respect for our opponent.
” We have a lot of respect for the Sugar Bowl and New Orleans. We also appreciate the hospitality we’ve received every time we’ve been there, as well as all the people at the Sugar Bowl who worked so hard making this an unforgettable bowl game.
“We are excited about this opportunity. The players have shown a positive attitude about the game and the days they spent in Tuscaloosa. So hopefully we can get back to that later today and get ready to play a great football game.”
Q. I just wanted to ask about Bryce [Young] as well as Will [Anderson]. It was something we discussed last week. What has the presence been? We haven’t spoken in a few days. They were here over the holidays, then came to New Orleans and joined the team.
COACH SABAN: “I think both guys have been tremendous leaders on our team. Both of them are captains of our team. They feel a sense of responsibility to be part of the team. They also have a lot of respect for their teammates which may have played into their decision to play.
” I think both men see that football is a way to create value for yourself. Many guys would say, “I don’t play because I’m going for the draft.” How do you prepare for the draft better by playing against good competition?
” I think both of those guys realized that. We’ve done everything we could as an institution to minimize their risk of playing.
“And I think it’s a great example for college football that guys that are special players who have had great seasons and have won numerous awards choose to continue to play and support their team.”
Q. You’ve been in this same situation in the Sugar Bowl before, but you weren’t playing in the championship. Both times you lost. What lessons can you learn from this game in a program that is used to playing for a championship title?
COACH SABAN: “Well, we’ve been in the playoffs, I think, since 2010. This could be the second time that we haven’t made it to the playoffs. I might be out a few games by then.
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“It sort of becomes the standard that is the goal of everybody in the organization, everybody in the program to actually have an opportunity to play in the playoff and how do you sort of change that mindset to create value for yourself and your team and your teammates by getting motivated to play against what’s always been a really good team when you play in the Sugar Bowl and go out and play winning football. I like the team’s attitude to this point. We can build on that positive attitude and continue to build momentum going into the game. But I think everybody has to respect who you’re playing and what it’s going to take to be able to do that.”
Q. COACH SABAN:
COACH SABAN: “I think that sometimes you have a feeling by how the players prepare, what their focus is in meetings, and how in tune they are to sort of have an amount of intensity and energy in practice and how they prepare for the game, because if they’re doing the things the right way, that sort of shows you that they have the right mindset. You usually feel good going into a game and that helps you to perform well.
“But, games are funny. All sports and all games can experience huge swings in momentum. I have been watching a few NFL games over the past couple of days and saw huge swings where one team would be dominant and then something happens. Yesterday’s Dolphins game was a great example. They could have scored three more. They fumbled and turned it over just before the half. After that, they were never the same team.
” Sometimes you’re ready for a game, and you execute well. But you have to be able and able to regain the momentum in a game when things don’t go your way. You have to be able overcome adversity. So even though you may practice and prepare and start out really well, you’ve got to be able to maintain that intensity and that momentum for 60 minutes in the game. You have to be able overcome whatever happens, no matter what.
” I think that’s one the greatest things about athletics. I believe that one of the greatest things about football is that you can learn how to overcome adversity. This will make you more successful in your life. Things don’t always go as we planned. I think that’s one thing that you can learn from being involved in a team sport especially.”
Q. You were referring to the NFL games that took place over the weekend. How was Christmas? Did Ms. Terry [Saban] get you any fun? I know you’re preparing for a game but did you have any fun?
COACH SABAN: “Yeah, we enjoyed it. We love being with our family. We have a few grandkids. This year, our entire family was there. We are so grateful. It was great fun. Christmas is even more special when you have little ones like a 3-year old grandson or a 9-year old granddaughter. So we had a very enjoyable day, and very thankful for all the things that we are able to enjoy with our family.”
Q. Are you a good gift-giver? Are you the guy who likes to give gifts? Do you give the best gifts?
COACH SABAN: “The scouting report on me is — (laughter) — I’m really hard to buy for. I don’t know if this is an excuse or if it’s true. So I either get a sweater, socks, or you can guess what else.”
Q. You believe in fixing things as the season progresses. Are you feeling like you did in the Auburn game? Or frustration? Do you feel like you have finally gotten rid of the frustrations and penalties that you had all season?
COACH SABAN: “We’ve worked really hard all year on things that you’re talking about, the team playing with more discipline, making better choices and decisions about executing because most of the time — and when you analyze what happens good and what happens poorly in a game, it comes down to your ability to execute fundamentals, blocking, tackling, not making poor choices on decisions and getting penalties at critical times in the game. It doesn’t matter if you drop a ball, miss a route, don’t play the right coverage, or miss a tackle. Execution is what it comes down to. “
“That’s something we try to teach our players. It’s important to show respect for how you play winning football. You can demonstrate that you can be disciplined and execute well, and that you don’t make mental mistakes that can really hurt your team. You will be able to do these things in a positive manner, which will create value for you in your future.
” We worked hard at that. I felt that our team ended the season on a positive note with the way they played the final three games. We can build on that in the next game. “
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The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.