Alabama will play Michigan in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day and Nick Saban did participated in a teleconference to talk about the matchup.
A quick rundown of his thoughts entering the game in Orlando.
— It’s an honor to play in the Citrus Bowl, Saban said. It’s a challenge they look forward to.
— “Our team is disappointed with how the season ended,” Saban said, and it’s an opportunity to get back to the Alabama standard he’s mentioned all year.
— This is about the future, so this game is about establishing that, Saban said.
— On the topic of players skipping the game for the draft, Saban said guys will make individual decisions based on their situation and circumstances. They will focus on coaching everyone who wants to play. This has been a situation Alabama hasn’t faced, “but we’ll see how it goes.”
— Saban said those conversations will be had and will “let you know” when any such decisions are made.
— On Saban’s reevaluation of bowl games in the playoff era: He said it’s important because of the next game. The questions about playing vs. the NFL draft speak to the difference in players’ view of bowl games. He noted some can improve their draft stock with a big game.
— Saban hopes players approach this game with something to prove in a non-playoff bowl situation. There’s a high standard around here and this is an opportunity to fix some of the disappointment.
— The message to players related to disappointment: “We want to get back to playing to the standard,” Saban said.
— Saban said he has a lot of respect for Jim Harbaugh, but he doesn’t know him all that well.
— On the 2010 Capital One Bowl: It was the first step in the right direction after a disappointing season. They played and prepped well for that 49-7 win over Michigan State “and it set the table for what we did that next season.” They won the next to national championships.