Nick Saban’s opening comment in his postgame news conference

Ben Howell ran for 9 yards on five carries. (AP photo by Dave Martin)

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Here’s how Alabama coach Nick Saban began his news conference after Saturday’s 49-0 win over Western Carolina:

“I was pleased with the way our guys competed in the game today. I think we went out there and tried to play to a standard and executed fairly well. There are always things that you can clean up, no question. The Western Carolina guys played hard. They were a little bit outmanned. Our guys played the way we wanted to play. We improved as a team and had a good week of practice. Everything is ahead of us as a team.

“We have to look forward to what we have to do to try to improve. Obviously we are going to have a difficult game next week. You throw everything out the window in terms of records when you play rivalry games. It’s going to be important that we have a good week this week.

“We are fortunate today that we didn’t get anybody injured. T.J. Yeldon sprained his foot a little bit and could have gone back in the game but we didn’t put him back in. Kevin Norwood could have played today, but we just decided not to play him because he didn’t practice all that much this week. Hopefully, we can get a little healed up here, get a little healthy.

“Some of the guys that play a lot of snaps didn’t have to play a lot of snaps today, which is probably a good thing. We just need to focus on what we need to do to improve and become a better team in the future.”

Later, Saban said he wanted to add this to his opening statement:

“I think one of the good things about today is, probably should have mentioned it in the beginning, was the opportunity to play a lot of players. I’m sure there were a few other guys that we could have got in the game that we probably should have got in the game, but we were trying to get as many guys in the game as we possibly could. I think for some guys all their hard work that they do is certainly appreciated and we were happy to play as many players as we did.

“It’s hard for me to say, I thought the second defense guys played a little better today. There have been times where we put those guys in there and they just make mental error after mental error. We almost went three deep on defense and those third guys made quite a few mental errors in that one drive, but I thought there was some maturity out of some of the backup players. They played with a lot of poise, which is something we haven’t been able to get out of them. Hopefully, their confidence and maturity is going to help the depth of our team.

“Second offensive line did a pretty decent job when they were in there, I think they made a good bit of improvement throughout the season and did a good job today.”

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