Nate Oats met with the media Friday to preview Saturday's 7:30 p.m. CT matchup at Mississippi State. Nick Saban's name came up. Here's a look:

Opening Statement

"Road teams haven't fared so well in the SEC.

"They just beat Tennessee. They've got the lowest scoring defense in the league. They're going to play tough and hard.

"Our guys will have to be a little tougher.

"We play these guys twice every year. They're not easy and this one's not going to be easy Saturday, for sure."

On Mo Wague's health

"Mo has not practiced yet. We'll have a shootaround tonight and see."

On Tolu Smith

"Tolu's one of the best bigs in the league and they give it to him."

"If Mo Wague can't play our depth takes a hit."

On Derrion Reed Signing

"Derrion's a super-talented big wing. Fits the mold of Brandon Miller and Josh Primo. He's a good defender and plays both sides of the ball. Skilled, strong, athletic."

On Nick Saban

"I've been very fortunate to spend four and a half years at the same university as the best football coach of the modern era. I've been to his practices.

"Learned a lot. How meticulous he is. His attention to detail. His intensity. He's one of the best coaches in the history of team sports.

"The state of college athletics needs to get figured out, and maybe he could have coach a little longer. These jobs aren't easy.

"He'd call me after tough losses. He's great."

On a football hire having to acclimate to the south

"I'm not sure who Greg's interviewing or hiring. He's good at keeping that stuff quiet.

"Best thing I did was keep Antoine Pettway on staff. There's got to be somebody that knows how things go around here.

[NOTE: Possible hint that Bama's new football coach could retain Travaris Robinson.]

"If they keep the recruiting class together and win they will be welcomed to with open arms."

On State beating Tennessee

"They came out of the gate and punched Tennessee in the mouth, which doesn't happen. They're tough and resilient. [MSU Coach]Chris Jans knows what he's doing.

"Josh Hubbard can score the ball. He's really good for a freshman. Cam Matthews might be the best defender in this league."

On returnees Pringle, Griffen and Sears

"Those three know what it takes to win. Nick's got a persona about him. He's a great leader. He's learning to be a leader, not just an influencer.

"Mark's learning to lead, too. Rylan's become our best perimeter defender. He's got a good IQ.

"All three in their own way have put a stamp on how to win here."

Highest Rated Recruits in Bama Hoops History

Take a look at the highest rated recruits to play for Alabama since 2000 according to 247Sports.

Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison

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