Saban: LSU has best pass rush in the league

QUICK HITS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban discussed LSU's pass rush, how his offensive line will deal with it, Tigers' quarterback Zach Mettenberger and more at his Wednesday night press conference.

Quick hits from Alabama head coach Nick Saban's press conference Wednesday:

1. During his Wednesday night presser, Alabama head coach Nick Saban called LSU's pass rush the best in the league.

"They've got two really good edge rushers," he said, referring to defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo. "They have really good team speed. Their inside guys can rush as well. Even though they're bigger, more physical guys, they do have quickness and they can push the pocket.

"The combination of those things makes them a very effective team."

2. Speaking of the pass rush, Saban was asked how he thinks his offensive tackles, Cyrus Kouandjio and D.J. Fluker, will fare against those speedy ends.

"I think overall they've done a pretty good job all year," Saban said. "You can't expect guys to block every guy, every time, every play. And we certainly know that they've been beaten a few times. But at the same time, when you look at their whole body of work this year, both guys have done a really good job blocking the edges."

3. Because of the way every Alabama game has unfolded this year—with the Crimson Tide holding lopsided leads heading into the fourth quarter—the starters haven't had to play deep into the game. But they might have to Saturday if the things are tight.

"We've had an opportunity to play a lot of players, and we expect them to play for 60 minutes and compete to the same standard, regardless of who's playing in the game," Saban said. "We want to play for four quarters. That's what we condition and train for. The fact that we haven't had to do it is no fault of the players."

4. Despite not having made big plays for LSU and not really taking the leadership reigns of the offense, Saban was very complimentary of Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

"I think he's a good player, a real arm talent," Saban said. "They've made plays. I think that everybody strives for consistency, and I think they're very capable of being a very, very explosive passing team.

"We're going to have to generate ways to get pressure to affect the quarterback, no doubt."

5. Injury report: Saban said A.J. McCarron (knee, back) has been able to practice without any issues or problems, and that Amari Cooper (ankle) practiced today and "we'll see if he had any problems tomorrow."

Bonus point: On the SEC Coaches Teleconference this morning, Saban was informed by a reporter that some people find him to be "curmudgeonly." His response:

"I don't know what that word means," he said.

The reporter gave the definition, which is to be irritable or cranky, often due to old age.

"I don't think it's accurate and I'm not sure I care and I didn't really even know that," Saban continued. "I appreciate the insight. I don't think that people that know me would say that. I don't think the players here would say that. I don't know if that's something that gets created somewhere outside of here. It's not especially complimentary I wouldn't think. I understand the words that I understand. I didn't really understand that one. I've learned a lot today."


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