WATCH: Nick Saban’s Postgame Press Conference After SEC Championship Win
ATLANTA – Even the media was getting thanked after the win.
On Saturday, Alabama defeated Florida, 29-15, in the SEC Championship Game, and Nick Saban made it known, if anything, with his parting words during his postgame press conference.
“One thing I would like to say to two (groups of) people,” Saban said, before leaving the postgame press conference. “Our fans do a fantastic job of supporting our team, and they certainly did a great job, and I know how much our players appreciate it.
“And I know how you all think that I don't like the media, and that's not really true. I really do appreciate all that you do for the positive self-gratification that you give the players by covering our sport. I know they appreciate it. I just don't like to tell you all stuff sometimes, and it's kind of my way of keeping secrets. But I really do appreciate what you do. So thank you.”
Of course, the players – namely Derrick Henry – received their credit from the Alabama head coach, too, after winning their second straight SEC title – the conference’s first repeat champion since Tennessee won it in 1997 and 1998 – and a likely berth in the College Football Playoff for the second straight season.
“I can't tell you how proud I am of this guy,” Saban said of Henry. “He's had a phenomenal season, and he deserves every accolade that anyone could ever throw his way.”
Henry carried the ball 44 times for 189 yards and one touchdown against a Florida run defense ranked No. 7 nationally heading into Saturday’s contest. Henry, who broke Herschel Walker’s single-season SEC rushing record in the win as well as other records, now has 1,986 yards and 23 touchdowns this season, both tops in the nation.
Henry called it a “blessing” to break Walker’s record.
“They are like my heroes, my football heroes,” Henry said. “Growing up and hearing their name and just watching what they did is incredible. For my name to be mentioned with theirs, it's an honor and a blessing.”
As a team, Alabama outplayed Florida in all three facets of the game – offense, defense and special teams. The Crimson Tide outgained the Gators, 437-180, and blocked a punt a punt and field goal attempt. It did, however, allow an 85-yard punt return touchdown in the second quarter, which gave the SEC East champion a brief 7-2 lead.
Last season, the Crimson Tide beat Missouri, 42-13. It also won in 2012 against Georgia, giving Alabama three SEC championships in four seasons. Overall, the Crimson Tide has now won 25 SEC titles.
Watch the video above to hear all of Saban's postgame reaction.
(Thanks to AL.com for Saban’s video.)
Watch postgame player interviews from Saturday's win below:
(Note: Because it was the SEC Championship Game, it was an open locker room for media availability after the game. Normally, reporters are limited to whomever Alabama's media relations staff brings out for postgame interviews. Saban also never allows true freshmen to do interviews, but his policy is overruled in this instance.)