Alabama moving on to Arkansas after 'statement' win

Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson dives on a fumble by Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert during the Crimson Tide's 38-10 win in Athens last Saturday. The eighth-ranked Tide host Arkansas this week.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban expressed pride Monday in the "statement" his Crimson Tide made with Saturday's 38-10 throttling of Georgia in Athens.

To no one's surprise, Saban quickly added that it's time to move on to this week's game against visiting Arkansas.

"We beat a good team. It is what it is, and that's it," Saban said in his news conference. "I think we did that because we prepared well and practiced well all week, and we had really good focus in the game. The effort and the toughness were what we need to have success in our league, but we are what we are as an identity only if it happens on a continuum.

"You can look at teams all over the country that have big wins, and then two weeks later they're not so happy again. This is something we need to build on and improve on."

The Crimson Tide (4-1, 1-1 SEC) scored in all three phases within the first 35 minutes at Georgia, when they had a 38-3 lead. Alabama had 287 yards at that point compared to 150 by the Bulldogs.

Tide, take three

* 1. Alabama has won all eight meetings against Arkansas under coach Nick Saban, including the 2012 and 2013 contests by a combined 104-0.* 2. The Crimson Tide lead the series with Arkansas 18-7, but the official record is 15-8 due to one forfeit and two vacated games as a result of NCAA sanctions.* 3. Under Saban, Alabama is 34-13 against Associated Press Top 25 teams and 18-7 against top-10 teams.

Alabama coaches on Monday recognized 10 players for their performances in Athens: quarterback Jake Coker, tailback Derrick Henry, receiver Calvin Ridley and center Ryan Kelly on offense; lineman A'Shawn Robinson, linebacker Reggie Ragland and safety Eddie Jackson on defense; and kicker Adam Griffith and cornerbacks Minkah Fitzpatrick and Cyrus Jones on special teams.

Henry and Ridley had their efforts honored by the SEC, but now the task is topping Bret Bielema's Razorbacks, who improved to 2-3 overall and 1-1 within the league with Saturday night's 24-20 triumph at Tennessee. Arkansas scored 24 of the game's final 30 points after falling behind 14-0.

"Arkansas has a really good team, and everybody knows what a physical game it was last year," Saban said, referencing the 14-13 escape in Fayetteville. "They have 16 starters back and a really good running back in Alex Collins, and their quarterback, Brandon Allen, has been starting now for three years and is a very good player.

"Their defense is one of the best against the run in the SEC, and overall they have just played better and better each week. Bret has done a really good job there of creating a lot of toughness to where you really have to have your jaw set to play well against the type of things that they do."

Arkansas, much like Georgia last week, has a pro-style offense. Collins has rushed for 656 yards (5.8 per carry) in five games, while Allen has completed 93 of 141 passes (66.0 percent) for 1,360 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions.

"It's another team that likes to run the ball, so we're excited," Tide junior defensive end Jonathan Allen said. "They're the same in some ways to Georgia, but they're also different. We've just got to do what we do and get ready for a great game."

Saban was asked near the end of his news conference what he would tell his players given the attention surrounding his program after such a resounding performance. He went after the media in his response.

"I'll say the same thing as when y'all buried us last week," he responded. "It really doesn't matter what you think or what you say, and I'm hoping nobody on our team is playing for you. I hope they're playing for each other and their team and what they want to accomplish, and not what you think, because that's certainly not what I'm doing.

"I'm coaching and working for our players and our team to be as good as it can be. I said before that I believe in this team, and we're going to work hard to make our team better. It's not going to be for you. If it was up to you, we were six feet under already. We were dead, buried and gone. Gone!"

Tide tidbits

Alabama's game at Texas A&M next week was picked up Monday by CBS and will kick off at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Saban said some of his players have nicks and bruises from the Georgia game but that all should be at today's practice. Saban on the Tide offense going 1-for-12 on third downs against Georgia: "We just ran the ball on five or six third downs toward the end of that game trying to take the air out of the ball."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.