Defensive battle: Saban vs. Muschamp

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban (WBRC photo)
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban (WBRC photo)

By Dennis Washington

PASADENA, CA (WBRC) - If there is anyone who understands the defensive mind of Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, it's Alabama head football coach Nick Saban.

"Will is a fantastic coach everywhere he's been. He certainly did an outstanding job for us."

Saban talked about Muschamp during a team media interview Tuesday morning as he prepares to face the Longhorns Thursday night in the BCS national championship game.

"We know a little bit about what they do, they know a little bit about what we do," Saban said. "But in games like this, you've got to make what you do work with your players relative to what the other team does and technically what you have to do to defend what they do."

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy said he expects he will see a few surpises from Muschamp.

"I'm sure they'll have a few wrinkles," said McElroy. "It's just what great coaches do, make good adjustments."

McElroy said the fact that Saban was a mentor for Muschamp has been a benefit in practice.

"The fact that we go against a similar defense every day in practice should help us and Texas," McElroy said. "I think the constant repetitions against those guys can help us prepare for this game. Coach Saban's blitz schemes are a little bit crazier, but as far as Coach Muschamp, they're very gap sound, so it's a lot like playing our defense."

Saban said he knows Muschamp will have the Texas defense prepared.

"This is not the first time we've ever played against somebody that's worked for us in the past, but we have a tremendous amount of respect for what he does and how he does it, and they've got a great defensive team," Saban said. "They've got very good players. They play hard. They're disciplined in terms of their execution. They're physical in what they do, and it's going to be a challenge for us to create the balance we need to be successful in the game."

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