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Alabama Crimson Tide

Nick Saban, Lincoln Riley talk CFP semifinal matchup

Coaches Nick Saban of Alabama and Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma addressed the media for the last time before the Crimson Tide and Sooners play in the College Football Playoff semifinal Saturday.

Here is a summary of what they said:

— Saban said he is old-fashioned about communicating players. He said he doesn’t email or have Twitter or any “social media stuff.” “It seems OK to the players,” he added.

— Saban said Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is one of the most dynamic players he has ever seen in college football.

— Regarding Kyler Murray’s NFL prospects, Riley said he has a big decision to make and that he will have to sit down with his family the season to determine whether he will play pro baseball or football. Riley said Murray will have to decide whether he wants to be an All-Star or Pro Bowler.

— Riley said Alabama’s Quinnen Williams is as good of a defensive tackle that he has ever coached against.

— Saban said he continues coaching because he is always looking forward and he enjoys the challenge, likening each season to climbing a mountain.

— Saban said he never wants to be in a situation where he is letting the players down as far as giving them value.

— Saban said Alabama is hoping to avoid turnovers, dropped balls and short drives, knowing that Oklahoma has tremendous “firepower.”

— Asked about the analyst roles at Alabama, Saban said he likes to help people in the coaching profession rehabilitate their careers. “It’s also an opportunity for us to grow from their…knowledge,” he added.

— Saban said he has superstitious routines and added that the routine you create allows you to be most efficient.

— Saban said when a team has a long break between games skilled players come back quicker and faster than the frontline players, such as offensive and defensive linemen.

— When asked if Oklahoma and Alabama could use new tactics at this stage of the season, Riley said “of course you’re going to see some new things from both teams.” But then he added that both the Sooners and Tide will likely stick to what works best for them.

Rainer Sabin is an Alabama beat writer for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @RainerSabin



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