Saban Addresses Media Before Opener

by (@LSUsports)
Saban Addresses Media Before Opener

BATON ROUGE — First year head coach Nick Saban held his first game week press luncheon on Tuesday afternoon on the fifth floor of the LSU Athletic Administration Building.

Transcript of the press conference:

“We are obviously very excited about the 2000 season. We’re excited that it is a game week. The players are very excited about the opportunity to prepare for an opponent. We’re excited about the fact that we have a new Tiger Stadium, and this will be the first game of the new millennium. We hope to kick off the successful building of a program that all of our supporters and fans will be proud of. We’re looking forward to all of those things.”

“Our players are excited about the fact that they won’t have to practice against one another any longer, whether it is in spring ball or two-a-day practices. They will be able to go out and compete against an opponent, and I think that is what we try to focus on with our players.”

“We tell them that this is today, the present moment type thinking, in terms of what we want to accomplish today to get prepared for this game. We want them to think of things in that regard so that we have the best chance
to be most prepared, and I think that in our approach there are two games that are going to occur. First, there’s going to be a game on the scoreboard, but secondly, there’s going to be a game on the field. What I’d like to focus on is our team and how we perform on the field. What our execution is, how we play together as a team, how we compete as a team, how we respond to adversity, if we play hard for 60 minutes, can we play with a tremendous amount of toughness, can we make the team that we’re playing say that this is the toughest, hardest playing, best-hitting team that they’ve had to play all year long for the sixty minutes in the game.”

“That will be our objective that is what we want to do. The game on the scoreboard, we want to focus on being good competitors in the game with the kind of intangibles that it will take for us to develop this team to our
potential. This game has nothing to do for the team that we are playing. They can go compete in their league, and do well regardless of what happens in this game. So, they have everything to gain, but nothing to lose. Some people might say that this is only a five-foot leap that we have to make, but I told my players that it is a five-foot leap from 20 stories up. We have everything to lose, but nothing to gain. So, if we don’t get prepared to make the leap properly, the results could be catastrophic and very lethal for us in terms of how far we fall.”

“We don’t want to let this happen, and I think that the best way to avoid it is to prepare for the game properly. Every team is dangerous that you face in college football. We have to have the proper respect for your opponent, but know that your focus and execution will determine what the outcome of the game is going to be and how you compete in the game. That has been our approach to the players so far.”

“Western Carolina has 14 starters coming back from last season. They were a pretty good offensive team for the last five games of the season last year. They average over 400 yards of total offense. They have a transfer
quarterback from Virginia that played last season against Georgia Tech. He played pretty well. He orchestrated a come from behind win for them. He was 18-30 in the game. We had the opportunity to see him play in the game. He’s a very effective player, and they also have some talented skill guys in No. 10 Banks, and No. 11 Aaron Wright. Defensively, they play mostly eight-man fronts. They have an aggressive style, as well as a sound and solid special teams unit. This is a team that I think made a significant amount of improvement toward the end of the year. They played a lot better than they did in the beginning, and I thought that their coaching staff did a very good job of featuring the players that they had in order to get them the ball, and that’s why they got better.”

“We only have one guy who is questionable, other than Mike Lillie who is out for the game, and that is Brendon Winey, who is just questionable for the game. We will hold him out of practice today, let him practice
tomorrow, and then will see where he is for the game. We will decide then how we will use him.”