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Alabama-Auburn: Nick Saban to players at half, ‘I told them go and have fun, man’

Drastic times call for drastic measures.

There was No. 3 Alabama, a 20-point favorite, at halftime at unranked Auburn, trailing 7-0.

Alabama coach Nick Saban couldn’t have been happy, so what was his advice to his team with the College Football Playoff essentially hanging in the balance?

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“I was just trying to get our guys to focus on executing,” Saban said in the postgame interview with SEC on CBS’ Jamie Erdahl. “I think they were a little bit out of sorts. I could see it in their eyes.

“I just wanted them to go play. I told them to have fun at halftime. I told them go and have fun, man. Quit worrying about the result and let’s just go have fun.”

The team apparently didn’t get the message right away. The Tide found itself in a 10-point hole headed to the fourth quarter.

Bryce Young capped a 97-yard drive with a 28-yard touchdown to freshman Ja’Corey Brooks with 24 seconds left in regulation.

“I can’t put it into words,” Saban said. “For the guys to keep fighting like they did and have the 90-something-yard drive to tie the game up to get it into overtime. But I tell you what, I tell you I’m so proud of the players. The way they competed in the game and fought.

“We said that’s what we wanted to do at halftime. I couldn’t be prouder of them. It was unbelievable.”

So, if the players were supposed to be having fun, when did Saban start having fun?

With a laugh and a point to the end zone, Saban quipped: “When he caught the ball.”

Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.

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