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Alabama Crimson Tide Football arrives in Miami for Orange Bowl

Alabama has arrived in Miami for the 2018 Orange Bowl. Below is the opening statements provided by Nick Saban, Tua Tagovailoa, and Quinnen Williams.

Alabama Head Coach – Nick Saban

Opening Statement

“We’re very excited to be here in Miami to play in the Capital One Orange Bowl. First of all, I know there is a lot of people in this city as well as with the Orange Bowl who do a tremendous amount of work to create a lot of positive hospitality for our entire team and travel group, so a special thanks to all those folks. This is a great opportunity for us playing against a great Oklahoma team. It’s a little bit unusual for us to have to travel on Christmas Eve but we just moved up Christmas a little bit, watched the grandkids open presents and our players got to go home for a few days. We’re here now and ready to get re-focused on having the opportunity to play in the Playoff game against an outstanding Oklahoma team that presents a lot of challenges. The key to the drill now is to sort of get re-centered and re-focused and get everybody going. We’re looking forward to getting back to practicing today.”

On the preparation so far

“What we try to do is have a couple of camp-like practices at home; and then sort of go through a normal week, look at everything tw­eak it a little bit and try to go through it again. We’ve pretty much gone through about most of the things we’re going to try to do in this game.”

On how much Tua Tagovailoa has been able to do in preparation

“Tua has been able to practice and get all the reps that he’s needed to get. It will be interesting to see after having a few days off, with the additional rehab, how that impacts his ability to get closer to 100 percent.”

On how he was able to deal with recruiting and bowl prep this year as opposed to last year

“There’s no question it is a little fragmented in trying to do all of these things at once. I think that any coach could probably tell you that. You’re practicing during signing day, when people are signing. You’re preparing for a game when you’re trying to wind up recruiting and manage your team as well as all of the things that are happening in recruiting. It’s a challenge. There’s no question that it’s a little fragmented in trying to do all of these things at once but I still think that you do the best you can. Now we have one thing to focus on and that’s the game.”

On preparing for a semifinal game

“That’s why we’re here so that we have a chance to acclimate to the situation that we’re going to play in, whether that be in the climate, the field, all those circumstances. I don’t think that you prepare any differently. I think the field will be 53 yards wide and 100 yards deep and it will have the same markings on it as any field. I think it’s about trying to execute, block, tackle and do the things you need to do to play winning football against a very good team.”

On the defensive preparation

“It’s challenging because it’s hard to get somebody to duplicate what the quarterback is capable of doing in their [Oklahoma’s] offense. He [Kyler Murray] does a fabulous job and obviously, he’s the best player in college football. It’s a challenge to have somebody that can do that in practice and I think the speed of the game will be a little bit different when we get to the game, but we’re doing the best we can.”

Alabama QB – Tua Tagovailoa

On physical rehab he’s been working on

“Throughout the process of us taking a break or having time off I’ve had someone there to just treat it. Other than that I’ve just been resting it. And at this point we’re doing a lot better. It feels pretty good.”

On where his rehab has been taking place

“I did most of my rehab in Alabaster. And then I’d say just the mobility part of just moving it was done in Tuscaloosa.”

On how confident he is in his rehabilitation process

“I think I was only limited to the first couple of practices; maybe the first two or three practices that we had. Other than that I was a full go with everything.”

On his expectations of the results of his rehab

“You know I trust and believe in what Jeff Allen and his training staff can do. They say it’s been done before, so I think it’s a mindset thing. You have to go in with the mindset that you want to get better right away. And that’s how I took it.”

On watching Oklahoma’s film thus far

“I’m not too sure, but I do know that as we’ve watched film over the last two games that they’ve played they’ve done a tremendous job on defense. You know they’re a really good team overall within their offense as well. I just think we have to go out there and just play football. It’s football on both sides. I mean, we have to go out there and execute.”

On duties and responsibilities as a quarterback

“As a quarterback you have to be able to create momentum for yourself. By doing that you can’t stop watching film. You can’t stop getting with your guys as far as throwing, handing the ball off. From an offensive standpoint, you have to get everyone together. You have to do everything the same way and I think that’s what we’ve been doing throughout this time off as well.”

On the focus of the game in comparison to his injury

“It’s a full send. We’re running all the plays that we normally run. And if I wasn’t able to run some of the plays then I shouldn’t be out there so I think it’s a full send. “

Alabama DL – Quinnen Williams

On bowl game preparation

“I feel like we have a lot more preparation to go. We have to watch more film and just have a great week of practice.”

On the challenges presented by Oklahoma’s offense

“Their offense is explosive, they have a great leader. Kyler (Murray) is a very good quarterback. Stopping the offensive on all (levels) will be challenging. We’ll just have to watch more film on it, listen to what Coach Saban says, and just try to dominate.”

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