"There's no substitute for experience," Grant said. "We're fortunate that those guys are getting valuable experience and were able to win and learn. That's really an important thing when you have as many young guys that will be counted on as we do." Until the younger players adjust, Green may need to be more aggressive. He went 6 of 10 from the field Friday, attempting only four shots in the second half. "I'm just going to try to take a smart shot," he said. "If it's there I'll take it, but I'm not going to force anything."
"They’re a deep team that plays up-tempo and has the ability to score a lot of points," Grant said. "It’s a very good team that’s coming into our building tomorrow. We’ll have to be at the top of our game defensively and it’ll be a very difficult challenge for us."
Releford on becoming a leader for Alabama: "Me and Coach Grant, he basically told me in a meeting this year, that that's what he wanted me to do. [He] basically just gave me the keys to the car and told me to lead the team and that's what he wants me to do and that's what I've got to do as a point guard." Releford on feeding off the energy of the crowd: "I think our team feeds off the crowd. When there's a big crowd, and they've got a lot of energy, I think that gives us a lot more energy on the defensive end when we're in the press. It just makes you want to make big plays to keep them going."
"We've lost three offensive tackles," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "If we get Barrett back, that's only two, but the two we had were really, really good backups -- almost no dropoff from the starters. Alfred's playing everywhere now. He did a nice job at left tackle (Saturday), but we need to get some guys healthy."
"AJ did a good job. We probably put him in a bad situation right before the half when he threw the interception. We probably should have just run the ball. If we'd broken a run and gotten a little better field position, maybe we should've gone two-minute," Saban said. "But that was not a good plan. You can't turnover the ball over, though. But AJ did a good job."
There was question of how Alabama would respond to its 9-6 overtime loss to LSU and whether the Tide would come into the game against MSU with a hangover. "It was tough," linebacker Dont’a Hightower said. "Coming off a game like that, that we could have won. We definitely wanted to come out and prove some people wrong. A lot of people thought we weren’t going to be able to bounce back and had us as a big upset. That is something we used as motivation for this game."
"We'd get the ball in great position and make really silly errors," Mullen said. "You play the best team in the country and make critical errors, you're not going to win."
The Heisman Trophy race was starting to look like a runaway for Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Alabama running back Trent Richardson might have been his closest competitor, but he might have been rated a distant second. Funny how things can change in one night.
As the Alabama game was ending Saturday, so too was Stanford’s game against Oregon. The Ducks capitalized on multiple Stanford errors to bury the Cardinal and end Stanford’s hope of a title shot. Alabama now needs help from either Oklahoma, Arkansas or Georgia, and maybe from two out of the three in order to reach the BCS title game. If that happens, OK won’t be good enough. Alabama learned that against LSU.
The arguments for 'Bama and Oregon quickly get unwieldy. 'Bama played LSU at home and couldn't beat the Tigers, losing in OT in a game where no one scored a touchdown. The Tide also would be potentially getting a BCS bowl spot without even winning its division in its conference. Expect to hear more of that point in the coming days. The Ducks, meanwhile, were beaten convincingly by LSU 40-27. They also play in a weaker conference, especially in light of the SEC's eye-catching five-game BCS championship run. Beyond that, the Ducks' recent history in BCS bowl game play won't help their cause -- losses to Ohio State and to Auburn as compared to Alabama's thumping of Texas to win the title two years ago. And getting to play a 13th game in the Pac-12 title game won't do much for Oregon's stock since the South division is horrible outside of USC. Realistically, Oregon needs more help. The Ducks not only need Oklahoma State to lose, they need Auburn to beat Alabama again.
Two weeks after it was involved in a No. 1-vs.-No. 2 game, Alabama will be involved in a No. 3-vs.-No. 3 game at 1 p.m. Saturday when Georgia Southern visits Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide (9-1), which lost 9-6 in overtime on Nov. 5 to top-ranked LSU, is ranked No. 3 this week in all of the major polls. Georgia Southern (9-1) also is ranked No. 3, but that's in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA).