NEW ORLEANS—This morning the final press conferences were held before top-ranked Clemson and No. 4 Alabama compete in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in the Superdome, Monday night for a chance to make it back to the National Championship.
The media first heard from Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, who was followed by Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Here is what we heard from Saban’s press conference:
“I think this game is a great opportunity for the players,” Saban said Sunday morning. “And we’re playing against a very, very good team. We played them several years now so it makes it a little bit of a rivalry game in circumstances like this. And it seems like we have had really good preparation for the game, and I think it’s time to go out and play and just see who the best team is.
“So I think our guys are excited, and I have been pleased be the preparation and focus that they have had. And we look forward to tomorrow night.”
Being that this is the third consecutive year Clemson and Alabama have met in the College Football Playoff, the familiarity between the two teams keeps increasing. Saban was asked if he wouldn’t be surprised to keep seeing more match-ups between these two teams in the playoffs.
“It wouldn’t be surprising to me,” he said. “I’m not much on making predictions. But each year you have they have a lot of good players. I think we have a lot of good players, and we have a lot of good, young players. But each year you lose a part of your team and guys go off for the draft.
“You have your seniors that have done a good job for you. Everybody has roles that they have to take on next season. So it’s almost like you’re rebuilding your team each and every year, in my opinion, and it’s a totally new challenge as to how people embrace the roles that they have, leadership.”
With the other College Football Playoff semi-final game between Georgia and Oklahoma at 4:00 p.m. Easter time Sunday, Saban explained why he feels watching other teams play on the same day he plays can cause distraction.
“I personally don’t choose to watch other games,” he said. “That’s me personally. We don’t have some kind of a rule that says, you know, I will watch a football game on TV on the day of the game.
“I’m sure we have some people that will want to watch and some people who don’t. But it’s a little bit of a distraction to me personally to get involved emotionally in watching another game the day that we play. So I usually choose not to do that.”
Although Saban has always been known to have a “business-like approach” in the way he runs his program, he says his players carry different characteristics from each other. However no matter their personalities, they all share the same focus and goal; being successful.
“Well, I think that intensity is energy. You can have had a business‑like approach, and you can have low energy and high intensity. I think we have some players on our team that are very intense; some are a little more emotional; some that are a little more business-like.
“But I think, regardless what the personality traits are, they all want to try to take on what they need to do to have a chance to be successful, do their job well so that the team has a chance to be successful in the game.”