FAMOUS CRIMSON TIDE
FROM PAUL W. "BEAR" BRYANT:
- "I ain't never been nothin but a winner."
- "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards."
- "What matters...is not the size of the dog in the fight, but of the fight in the dog."
- "Don't talk too much or too soon."
- "In a crisis, don't hide behind anything or anybody. They're going to find you anyway."
- "When you make a mistake, admit it; learn from it and don't repeat it."
- "Football changes and so do people. The successful coach is the one who sets the trend, not the one who follows it."
- "If you don't have discipline, you can't have a successful program."
- "I can reach a kid who doesn't have any ability as long as he doesn't know it."
- "Sacrifice. Work. Self-descipline. I teach these things, and my boys don't forget them when they leave."
- "When you win, there's glory enough for everybody. When you lose, there's glory for none."
- "Winning isn't everything, but it sure beats coming in second."
- "Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself."
- "There is a big difference in wanting to and willing to."
- "I've made so many mistakes that if I don't make the same mistakes over, we're going to come pretty close to winning."
- "When you're number one, you don't play for the tie."
- "I don't have any ideas; my coaches have them. I just pass the ideas on and referee the arguments."
- "I don't hire anybody not brighter than I am. If they're not smarter than me, I don't need them."
- "Every time a player goes out there, at least 20 people have some amount of influence on him. His mother has more influence than anyone. I know because I played, and I loved my mama."
- "If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes real good, you did it. That's all it takes to get people to win football games."
- "In life, you'll have your back up against the wall many times. You might as well get used to it."
- "You never know how a horse will pull until you hook him to a heavy load."
- "The first time you quit, it's hard. The second time, it gets easier. The third time, you don't even have to think about it."
- "One man doesn't make a team. It takes 11."
- "I'm known as a recruiter. Well you've got to have chicken to make chicken salad."
- "The first thing a football coach needs when he's starting out is a wife who's willing to put up with a whole lot of neglect. The second thing is a five-year contract."
- "The alumni are starting to grumble, and I'm the one starting it."
- "No coach has ever won a game by what he knows; it's what his players know that counts."
- "There ought to be a special place in heaven for coaches' wives."
- "I don't care how much talent a team has -- if the boys don't think tough, practice tough, and live tough, how can they play tough on Saturday?."
- "Winning isn't imperative, but getting tougher in the fourth quarter is."
- "When we have a good team, I know it's because we have boys that come from good mommas and pappas."
- "Age has nothing to do with it. You can be out of touch at any age."
- "I'll never forget going to the Rose Bowl. I remember everything about it. We were on the train and Coach Thomas was talking to three coaches and Red Heard, the athletic director at LSU. Coach Thomas said, Red, this is my best football player. This is the best player on my team.' Well, shoot, I could have gone right out the top. He was getting me ready. And I was, too. I would have gone out there and killed myself for Alabama that day." -- Reminiscing about the 1935 Rose Bowl trip and Coach Thomas.
- "Woody is a great coach . . . and I ain't bad." -- After the Tide beat Ohio State 35 - 6 in the 1978 Sugar Bowl.
- "How many people watch you give a final exam? [About fifty is the reply.] Well, I have 50,000 watch me give mine - every Saturday!" -- To Texas A&M Professor Tommy Mayo when questioned about his emphasis on winning and his salary.
- "Sure I'd like to beat Notre Dame, don't get me wrong. But nothing matters more than beating that cow college on the other side of the state." -- To a group of boosters before an Auburn game.
- "I left Texas A&M because my school called me. Mama called, and when Mama calls, then you just have to come running." -- On why he left Texas A&M to come to Alabama.
- "He can't run, he can't pass, and he can't kick - all he can do is beat you." -- Speaking of Tide QB Pat Trammel.
- "They play like it is a sin to give up a point." -- Talking about his defense before the 1962 Sugar Bowl.
- "At Alabama, we teach our men to win." -- When asked about Notre Dame's decision run out the clock and tie Michigan State 10-10 in the 1966 Rose Bowl. Both teams wound up tied for first with an undefeated Alabama finishing third even though they beat Nebraska 34-7 in the Sugar Bowl.
- "If he'd kicked it straght, we would have blocked it." -- Remarks about Tennessee's missed field goal in the 1966 game in Knoxville, won by the Tide 11-10.
- "All I know is, I don't want to stop coaching, and I don't want to stop winning, so we're gonna break the record unless I die." -- When asked if he would break Alonzo Staggs record of 314 college wins.
- "I know one thing, I'd rather die now than to have died this morning and missed this game." -- After Bama's win over unbeaten Auburn in '71.
- "Hell, no! A tie is like kissing your sister!" -- After being asked if he had considered going for a field goal when trailing by three points.
- What the hell's the matter with you people down there? Don't y'all take your football seriously?" -- Upon calling Auburn at 6 AM only to find out that none of the coaches were in their offices yet.
- "Here's a twenty, bury two." -- After being asked to chip in ten dollars to help cover the cost of a sportswriter's funeral.
- "At Alabama our players do not win Heisman Trophies, our teams win national championships." -- After being asked if he was dissappointed that an Alabama player had never won the Heisman Trophy while he was the coach.
- "I'm just a simple plowhand from Arkansas, but I have learned over the years how to hold a team together. How to lift some men up, how to calm others down, until finally they've got one heartbeat, together, a team." -- When asked why he was so successful as a coach.
- You boys were eight and ten years old last time Alabama was on top. That was before any of you were paying much attention to it. What are you doing here? Tell me why you are here. If you are not here to win a national championship, you're in the wrong place. You boys are special. I don't want my players to be like other students. I want special people. You can learn a lot on the football field that isn't taught in the home, the church, or the classroom. There are going to be days when you think you've got no more to give and then you're going to give plenty more. You are going to have pride and class. You are going to be very special. You are going to win the national championship for Alabama." -- Coach Paul Bryant in his first meeting with his first team at Alabama, 1958.
- "I don't know if I'll ever get tired of football. One time I thought I might. . . I was out there on the practice field wondering whether football had passed me by. Then I heard the Million Dollar Band playing over on the practice field. When they started playing 'Yea, Alabama,' I got goosebumps all over me. I looked out there and those young rascals in those crimson jerseys, and I just wanted to thank God for giving me the opportunity to coach and contribute in some small way at my alma mater and be a part of the University of Alabama tradition." -- When asked if he would ever tire of coaching football.
FROM ALABAMA COACHES:
- "I have some unfinished business" -- Mike Shula during his introduction speech as new head coach of Alabama.
- "The expectation level is high at the University of Alabama and it should be. What's wrong with people expecting excellence?" -- Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings.
- "I know that I picked up a great deal of things during my association with Coach Bryant. I know he influenced me as a coach by teaching me to never give up on your talent. And he told me there was no substitution for work. He convinced his people. And when players and coaches are convinced they can win, they're going to win." -- Coach Gene Stallings on Bear Bryant
- "You don't have to flaunt your success, but you don't have to apologize for it, either" -- Gene Stallings after the '92 Ole Miss game
- "I wish Coach Bryant were here to see this defense play." -- Defensive Coordinator Bill Oliver about the '92 defense.
FROM OTHER COACHES:
- "I don't know, we haven't played Alabama yet."
-- Vince Lombardi after being asked what it felt like to be the greatest football team in the world just after winning the '66 Super Bowl.
- "I don't know if that's a great team, but they most certainly were great against us. I don't guess anybody has ever hit us that hard." -- Auburn coach Shug Jordan, 1961.
- "You never know what a football player is made of until he plays against Alabama." -- Former Tennessee Coach Bob Neyland.
- "There goes a great coach. I'll never forget what he did today. If he had wanted, he could have named the score." -- USC coach Jeff Cravath talking about Frank Thomas after the 1946 Rose Bowl won by Alabama 34-14.
- "We had great respect for Alabama, especially it's defense, we knew they were a formidable opponent. But in retrospect, I think they were a lot stronger than a lot of our people thought." -- Miami coach Dennis Erickson after the '92 Sugar Bowl.
- "Bryant can take his'n and beat your'n, and then he can turn around and take your'n and beat his'n." -- Houston Oiler head coach Bum Phillips, a former player under Coach Bryant.
- "You go by that and they'll have to fire us all." -- Former Auburn coach Shug Jordan on finding out that LSU coach Charlie McLendon had been fired for not being able to defeat Coach Bryant.
- "A game like this, Alabama players will remember it for the rest of their lives. Auburn players...it'll eat their guts out the rest of their lives." -- Former Auburn coach Pat Dye to a reporter after Van Tiffen kicked his 52 yard field goal to beat Auburn in 1985.
- "He literally coached himself to death. He was our greatest coach." -- Former Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes at the funeral for Coach Bryant.
FROM FORMER PLAYERS:
- "Whenever I see those crmison jerseys and crimson helmets, I feel humbled to have played football for Alabama. Other players in the NFL talk to me about their schools and their traditions. I just smile knowing the immense love Alabama fans have for our school and its football program. I'm proud to be a part of that Crimson Tide heritage." -- Derrick Thomas
- "All I know is that we went out there in two buses and we came back in one." -- Former Texas A&M player and Alabama head coach Gene Stallings, upon being asked if Coach Bryant's first practices at Texas A&M were as tough as reported.
- "I can honestly say that I didn't come to the University of Alabama because I thought it would be easy. No, I came because I knew it would be hard." -- Former Tide player Tommy Wilcox.
- "You'd better pass." -- Marty Lyons (to Penn St QB Chuck Fusina) when he walked to the line of scrimmage to see how far the ball was from the goal line just before the famous goal line stand in the '79 Sugar Bowl.
- "It was gut check time. We looked at each other. We knew this could be it. When they broke the huddle, everything got silent. Boy, talk about gut checks." -- Barry Krauss after the Sugar Bowl win over Penn State in 1979.
- "I guess I'm just too full of Bama." -- Tommy Lewis, explaining why he charged, bareheaded, off the bench to tackle Rices' Dick Moegle who was on his way to a 95 yard TD run in the 1954 Cotton Bowl.
- "Playing at Alabama taught me mental toughness, being a team player, being a winner." -- Cornelius Bennett
- "Everyone says we can't beat Miami, but we are not just anybody, we are Alabama." -- David Palmer just before the 1992 Sugar Bowl.
- "In the second quarter, I saw Torretta look over at me, and he froze for a second. I saw fear." -- Alabama defensive end John Copeland after the 1993 Sugar Bowl.
- "No man, I majored in Journalism, it was easier." -- Joe Namath responding to a journalist who asked him if he majored in Basket Weaving at Alabama.
- "The first person I would like to thank is the good Lord, for giving me the ability to play the game of football. Because without the ability to play the game I would have been at Auburn." -- Marty Lyons
- "I can't imagine being in the Hall of Fame with Coach Bryant. There ought to be two Hall of Fames, one for Coach Bryant and one for everybody else." -- Ozzie Newsome, upon his induction to the Alabama Hall of Fame.
- "I'd do it again in a minute. If your a football player, you dream of playing for Coach Bryant." -- Former Tide defender John Mitchell, on being the first black player to play football at Alabama.
- "He literally knocked the door down. I mean right off its hinges. A policeman came in and asked who knocked the door down, and Coach Bryant said, "I did". The policeman just said "Okay" and walked off." -- Jerry Duncan describing an irate Bryant after a 7-7 tie with Tennessee.
- "Coach Bryant always taught us we were special and never to accept being ordinary. I think that is one thing that has sustained Alabama through the years. Players with ordinary ability feeling somehow, someway they would find it within themselves to make a play to help Alabama win a football game. There is no way to describe the pride an Alabama player feels in himself and the tradition of the school." -- Kenny Stabler
- "I grew up sneaking into Legion Field to see Alabama play. I vividly remember Joe Namath's first varisty game. I remember Kenny Stabler running down the sideline in the rain and mud against Auburn. I remember Lee Roy Jordan chasing down a running back and intimidating without even hitting. I really appreciate the people who have contributed to this legacy and the tradition that has been passed down. And the people who have continued it--the goal line stand and Van Tiffin's kick and all those memories of people who have carried on the tradition of Alabama football. I really feel blessed to have had the opportunity to be part of the tradition of Alabama football." -- Johnny Musso
- "This must be what God looks like." -- George Blanda, who played for Bryant at Kentucky, upon his first meeting with the coach.
FROM OPPOSING PLAYERS:
- "He knocked me woozy. I have never been hit like that before and hopefully, I'll never be hit like that again." -- Notre Dame QB Steve Beuerlein after Cornelius Bennett's tackle of him in the 1986 game.
- "Let's face it. Alabama just likes to hit you. They are the hardest hitting team I've ever played against." -- Illinois quarterback Tony Eason after Alabama beat the Illini 21-15 in Paul Bryant's final game.
- "His ear had a real nasty cut and it was dangling from his head, bleeding badly. He grabbed his own ear and tried to yank it from his head. His teammates stopped him and the managers bandaged him. Man was that guy a tough one. He wanted to tear off his own ear so he could keep playing." -- Tennessee lineman Bull Bayer talking about his Alabama counterpart and first All-American Bully VandeGraaf in the 1913 game.
- "Alabama's cornerbacks don't impress me one bit. They're overrated. Real men don't play zone defense and we'll show them a thing or two come January 1st." -- Miami Receiver Lamar Thomas before the '93 Sugar Bowl. Thomas was involved in the Play of the Century.
FROM SPORTS WRITERS/BROADCASTERS:
"Folks, this is the greatest individual defensive effort I have ever witnessed." -- CBS announcer Brent Musburger talking about Derrick Thomas in the 1988 Penn State game.
"The game demonstrated the superiority of the Southern teams over any aggregation that the damn yankees could send across the Mason and Dixon Line." -- Sports writer Charles Israel of the Philadelphia Bulletin after the Tide's 61-6 win over Syracuse in the 1953 Orange Bowl.
"And believe me, to have been in the city of Tuscaloosa in October when you were young and full of Early Times and had a shining Alabama girl by your side--to have had all that and then to have seen those red shirts pour onto the field, and, then, coming behind them, with that inexorable big cat walk of his, the man himself, The Bear--that was very good indeed." -- Howell Raines, a Washington correspondent for the New York Times.
- "Florida? Tennessee? Auburn? Georgia? They're all great teams, great programs. But in the grand scheme of things, none have overtaken Alabama as THE football program in the SEC." -- An article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette on gameday of Alabama vs. Arkansas.
- "Well Eli, Smokey just came out of the tunnel, and he's about 100 yards away from me now, and if I had my deer rifle I believe I could drop him, back to you Eli" -- Jerry Duncan's comments to Eli Gold just prior to kickoff against Tennessee.
- "I thought Nebraska was the most football-crazed state until I came to Alabama. -- James Michener in 1975 when he was writing his book, Sports in America.
- "If I could reach my students like that, I'd teach for nothing." -- An Alabama professor after seeing the players reaction to a pregame talk by Coach Bryant.
- "No one can help but be aware of the rich tradition that is associated with this team and this University. Tradition is a burden in many ways. To have a tradition like ours means that you can't lose your cool; to have tradition like ours means that you always have to show class, even when you're no quite up to it; to have tradition like ours means that you have to do some things that you don't want to do and some you even think you can't do, simply because tradition demands it of you. On the other hand, tradition is that which allows us to prevail in ways that we could not otherwise." -- Former Alabama President, David Matthews.