COACH STOOPS: Not our best effort tonight. That’s one heck of a football team. You know, that’s a team that’s won 3 out of the last 4 National Championships for a reason. They do everything right from top to bottom. Extremely physical football team. We got beat up out there tonight. We need to go back. We need to coach better, we need to play better, and execute the things and control the things we can control. And certainly we can do better in all facets of our team, and we’ll do that. Disappointing night. I thought we’d compete a little bit harder than that, but give credit to them. Like I said, that’s the No. 1 team in the nation for a reason. I was really impressed with them, just like you watch them on tape. Their quarterback ‑‑ they’ve seen it all. He’s just extremely poised. They’re physical. They can run it. They put you in all kind of predicaments and had us off balance most of the night like they do to a lot of people. We’ll get back, clean up the mistakes, and move forward with the second half of our season.
Q. Mark, what have you heard about Jalen and his status?
COACH STOOPS: He sprained an ankle. It was a pretty good ankle sprain. So I’m not sure.
Q. Coach, how physical were they?
COACH STOOPS: Very. That’s a physical bunch. Yeah, that’s a big, physical team that plays with great technique, and they’re extremely well‑coached and very multiple. Put all that together, and it’s a tough night.
Q. Alabama was helping out early, getting a couple of turnovers. You guys couldn’t take advantage of it.
COACH STOOPS: No, we couldn’t, and they were still driving it. They drove it down there, and we’d get the turnover, and they kept us back there, playing great defense. Even though we got a couple of turnovers, we were still behind the eight ball most of the night and chasing it. It was an uphill climb. We had so much snaps in the first half. That’s a combination of things, of us not getting first downs and not being able to stop them. They were getting plenty of drives. They moved the ball very well against us.
Q. Do you feel your defense was worn down a little bit because they were on the field so much?
COACH STOOPS: I do. I think it was going to be tough to begin with, and then to be out there a bunch of plays and get banged up, it was a tough night.
Q. How much of the offensive game plan were you able to execute without Jalen?
COACH STOOPS: The problem was he got most of the snaps (in practice). As we’re trying to settle on this, most of the snaps went to him. So Max (Smith) got thrown into a tough situation against a great team. It hurt us in that regard.
Q. Were you encouraged by the first quarter defense especially?
COACH STOOPS: I guess you could say that. We were hanging on. Like I said, I felt like we were behind from the beginning. I just felt like we were just hanging on. But I was encouraged. Looked like we had a couple of good hits and got the ball out. I thought we were fighting. We needed to have some good things happen, and that was helpful to keep us in it in the first half there for a while.
Q. When you were down 17‑0, you had the ball, and Max hit Ryan on that crossing pattern. When he didn’t catch it, how big a play was that?
COACH STOOPS: I think it hurt us quite a bit. They go down and score again right before the half. We needed to be off the field. We’ve got to convert. It’s tough enough. Those are the things that I talk about. The things we can control, the things we can execute, we have to do those things against a quality football team. I didn’t feel like we gave ourselves much of a chance to win at any point, but certainly we could execute and do some things better.
Q. Are you unhappy about the way you guys tackled tonight? That seemed to be an issue there.
COACH STOOPS: It is. I think just going into it, seeing how physical they run it and how well their backs run and all that, it was a tough night.