TUSCALOOSA, Ala. —
Alabama (11-1) returned to the practice field on Tuesday for the first time since the Iron Bowl.
The game was tied until Chris Davis returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown on the final play to effectively end Alabama’s bid for a third straight national championship.
Now, the team is gearing up for a bowl trip that would be a prize for most teams, but could be viewed as a disappointment for the Tide.
“We’re fired up playing Oklahoma,” defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan said. “It’s not for a national championship or anything, but we’re going to go into it like it is.
“We’re going to try to finish this season as strong as possible.”
Left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio said Saban brought up the 2008 season when the Tide fell to Florida in the SEC championship game and to Utah in the Sugar Bowl.
“He was like we shouldn’t let this loss bring us down to the point where we just keep hang-dogging and keep our heads down going into the game and lose that game, too,” Kouandjio said.
On the field, Saban said guard Anthony Steen will miss the bowl game after having shoulder surgery.
Off the field, the coach had more to celebrate than even his new contract. His son, Nicholas, and daughter-in-law had a baby on Sunday.
The sometimes gruff Saban lit up talking about the experience that got him to the hospital in the wee hours.
“To have a healthy baby and a healthy mother and someone that beautiful come into your family is really something that you have to count your blessings on,” he said.
“They actually had a rocking chair over there so I was kind of happy rocking that baby a little bit. Since then, I haven’t been able to go back.