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Postgame Quotes – No. 1 Alabama

September 23, 2017

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Sept. 23, 2017

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Vanderbilt – No. 1 Alabama Postgame Quotes
Sept. 23, 2017
Vanderbilt Stadium

Vanderbilt Head Coach Derek Mason

Opening comments:
“Credit Alabama. Alabama is exactly what we thought they were going into the game. They’re great defensively, they’re well-coached, and they’re physical. We got in a hole early and it snowballed on us. We struggled offensively and defensively on third downs. We struggled to get third downs on offense and struggled to get off the field on third downs on defense… We were out-coached. We looked like a tired team at the end… We got out-classed… We have to go back to work now. I’m more concerned about our response and making sure one doesn’t become two.” 

On Vanderbilt’s struggles on offense early in the game:
“I think it went interception, punt, punt, fumble. You have to stay on the field and finish drives… [Alabama] dominated time of possession. That can’t happen. We didn’t tackle well either.” 

On Alabama’s defense:
“They’re physical. We got blocked and stayed blocked – that’s disappointing. We have to use our hands to get off blocks.”

“I told our coaches to coach through it. You have to fight through and figure out what works, what doesn’t, and how to get to the other side.” 

On Vanderbilt’s response to the loss:
“It’s only one game. We’re still sitting at 3-1 and now we have to figure out how to get to four [wins]. And we have to go on the road to do it.” 

“I’ll see on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday what our team looks like and whether we have a hangover. We lost convincingly enough where we all have to look in the mirror to figure out how to improve.”

On whether he was disappointed:
“We’re not going to fall into the abyss over one game. It’s too early in the season. We played the No. 1 team in the country. There’s a reason why they’re No. 1.”

On whether he was surprised at how quickly the game snowballed:
“I thought we prepared well… Our offensive line pushed, but there wasn’t enough there to create space. Defensively, we didn’t get off our blocks.” 

On when he felt it was time to put in younger players:
“You look at our fatigue and you look at where you are in the game. I could tell [during a TD pass in the third quarter] that we weren’t moving fast enough – we couldn’t move… I thought we played hard, but we weren’t good enough.” 

Vanderbilt Safety Ryan White

On how they need to keep one loss from turning into two:
“It is simple – we just have to get back to work when we get back on the practice field. Just have to send a message to everybody so they know it was only one game and it doesn’t define our season. So we just have to bounce back and get back to work.” 

On what they need to correct going forward:
“All there is to it is we need to get back to work. No matter what, just get back to work and move on to next week to Florida.” 

On whether this is a better equipped team to handle a loss like this:
“Definitely, like coach always talks about we are a junior and senior team. We just have to gather the team collectively, get everyone back on track and get back to work.”

Vanderbilt Safety Emmanuel Smith

On how difficult it was to contain Alabama’s running game:
“It was difficult. We practiced for it and planned for it but at the same time, they had a better ball team than we did today. They came out and showed it on the field.” 

Vanderbilt Wide Receiver Trent Sherfield

On whether it is easier to block out people saying how good or how bad you are:
“We have to treat them the same. People are going to say, ‘Back to same ole Vandy’, whatever the case may be but we have to block that out. We need to continue to push forward, it was just one game. When 12 o’clock hits we are going to be on to Florida and when we come out tomorrow, that is what we are going to focus on.”

On how frustrating it was to see everything snowball after the slow start:
“It is very frustrating. Obviously you want to come out and execute to the best of your ability. Once things started to go downhill, it got real frustrating. As an older guy, just had to keep those guys rallied up and make sure they understand we are never out of the fight. We have to keep fighting and once the clock hits zero, I had to make sure to let the guys know we move on and put it behind us.”

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban

On preparing his defense for the game:
“Defensively, the Vanderbilt offense is tough to prepare for their formation and motions, but our guys did a good job of keeping leverage on their formation and stopping their running game. We have a lot of respect for Kyle Shurmur and put enough pressure on him that it affected him a bit and helped us in the game. This is a great win for us and I’m proud of our team with the way they responded in the game.” 

On the importance of getting an early lead:
“The way Vanderbilt likes to play, and the fact we got ahead of them [early in the game], probably affected their strategy moving forward. They like to run the ball, keep it close to the vest and play good defense, but when we got ahead of them, I think that was key.” 

On the team’s effort in the run game:
“I think we need to say something about the offensive line. We talk a lot about how good Vanderbilt’s defense is and for our offensive line to control the line of scrimmage the way they did was important. I think our runners ran well and everyone did a good job. Bo [Scarborough], Damien [Harris] and Najee [Harris] each did a good job while they were in.” 

On teachable moments from today’s game:
“I think we learned something today with the way we competed. That’s what you need to do in this conference – to play with consistency. We’ll play another good team next week and another good team after that, so you just have to take them one game at a time. We can enjoy this win for 24 hours and then we have to look towards what we need to do for next week.”

Alabama Quarterback Jalen Hurts

On comments from Vanderbilt players leading up to the game:
“At Alabama, we want to be respected, and we don’t feel like they were showing us respect. So, we came out here and tried to play Alabama football.” 

On what Coach Saban challenged them to do today:
“To dominate.” 

Alabama Linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton

On the week of practice leading up to the game:
“The coaches challenged us throughout the week, and we responded to the challenges, and it showed today.” 

On the Alabama’s identity:
“We shut them out on the road, and that’s a great first step, getting a win in the SEC.” 

Alabama Linebacker Rashaan Evans

On returning from injury:
“It meant a lot to me. Being out for the last two weeks, it felt great being back out there with my guys. Physically, I’m still kind of sore from that injury, but it’s only going to get better over time.” 

On the defense’s goal heading into the game:
“All we wanted to do was to play with passion to show how much we love this game. I feel like we did that today and we want to continue to do that throughout the year.”

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