Say what you will, Nick Saban was gracious in defeat.
“But I love Kirby. I think Kirby has a lot of respect for us. He did a great job for us for a long time. If we had to lose a national championship, I’d rather lose one to one of the former assistants who certainly did a great job for us and has done a great job for his program and his team.
“If any team deserves — they deserve it. They played great all year. We were the only team to beat them in the SEC Championship game. And we just couldn’t finish the game tonight like we wanted to.
“But I think Kirby has done a really really good job there. I congratulated him on the win. I’m really proud of him. And I’m proud of the way he’s been able to coach his team and the consistency that they’ve played with all year.”