The Greatest Opener of All Time didn’t quite live up to its billing for all four quarters on Saturday night. Granted, the first half was pretty entertaining.
However, Alabama raised its level in the second half, pulling away from FSU for the 24-7 win. To add injury to insult for the Seminoles, their standout sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois left the game in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury that didn’t look pretty.
Here are the highlights of what Jimbo Fisher said in his postgame press conference following the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, via ASAP Sports Transcripts.
- On Alabama’s performance: “I’ll say a special thanks to Alabama. They did a great job. They deserved to win the football game. They made the plays. They got the momentum changed in the second half with some special teams plays, and got it going and did a great job. It was a hard-fought game, a very physical game on both sides. Our defense did a really nice job in keeping us in the ballgame and trying to give us some chances, and I think we pressed on offense, didn’t get good field position and made some mistakes on defense.”
- What comes next for the Seminoles: “We just need to rebound, get back, fix the things that we had wrong and go. I still think we’ve got a great football team. I think we’re very physical, I think we’re very good. We’ve got to clean some things up, not make those momentum swings. When you play great people you can’t have those, and we’ll look at that and then look at the film, make the adjustments and move on.”
- His players’ initial reactions: “Our kids are disappointed in the result, but at the end, they’ve got to keep process and we’ve got to coach better, and the things that go on, that’s our job as coaches and my job to fix that and get them in better position to make plays and do the right things over and over.”
- On Francois’ injury and status: “I don’t know until we diagnose it and see. I’m not a doc — I don’t mean that — I don’t know. I’ve learned to wait until they see. Unfortunately he’s hurt, though…I saw him and I hugged him and told him I’m sorry he’s hurt, we’ll get the diagnosis and I love him and we’ll figure out what we’ve got to do from here.”
- On his and Alabama’s defenses: “They did a great job second half. We gave up a couple plays in the first half, they caught us one time on the safety rotation. They got a guy in the middle of the field and made a great play, but other than that our defense did a really nice job, and we knew, our defense was stalwart, we had a chance to be really good team. They kept us in the ballgame. A couple times Alabama had a chance to put it away, and we kept them to a two-score game at 21-7; that’s only two plays away. You’re one or two drives — we just couldn’t make the plays. Their defense did a great job, and we just didn’t make the plays on our side of the ball to get us back in.”
- On the special teams struggles, which made a big difference in favor of the Crimson Tide: “Very much (surprised), because we work exclusively, and we do over 30, 35, 40 minutes day on special teams. We work it hard, and we had a breakdown on the edge, and they got through on a field goal at the end of the half, which is another big momentum swing, and then they got the blocked punt. The guy just slid inside our guy. We knew who to block, what he did, and he just slid inside from what I understand, and I’ll look at the film, and got the block. That was critical, and then poor — he played a great game, and he just made a bad decision. He thought he was out farther, wasn’t as close to the goal line, and he should have just let the ball go. Just made a poor decision, and tried to get it out and actually fumbled. Those are big, critical plays in the game.”
- On Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium: “It’s a beautiful stadium. I’m worried about those 100 yards down there. I wasn’t looking up and seeing — I joke about that, but I get zoned in. But it looks like a beautiful complex. Great for fans, great atmosphere, great environment. You had all the boards you could see, replays and all the things. Looks like it’s a very fan-friendly — it’s a beautiful place and everything in the locker room and everything here is first class, just like Chick-Fil-A does everything, so Arthur (Blank) is obviously doing it the right way, too…This was an outstanding event. Again, everything they do is run with first class and always have been. Every year I’ve ever dealt with them, they’ve put on tremendous events and tremendous venues and hospitality, and everything else has been out of this world. They’ve done a great job.”
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