Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban said his team has a lot to learn following win at Texas A&M
By Hunter Ford
Nick Saban seems to be trying to get through to some hard-headed players, based on comments from his Monday press conference.
The Tide was lit up for 42 points and over 600 total yards in a thrilling win over the Aggies last Saturday, in a game the defensively obsessed Saban said took 10 years off his life.
“You tell a guy 100 times not to drop his hands in bump and run coverage,” an exasperated Saban said. “You tell a guy 100 times, he’s got to be in the middles of the field. It’s the same old thing.”
For a moment, Saban started to take the blame himself, for the defensive miscues. But after a brief pause, he put the emphasis back on the players.
“The things we tried to do (defensively) we didn’t do very well,” he said. “That’s my fault. But players need to do what coaches tell them. If you are supposed to be looking at your man and you’re looking in the backfield…that’s not going to get it.”
Saban said he wanted his defenders to compete better, and to have more discipline. Asked if he thought players were acting selfishly by not following assignments, Saban clarified his point.
“I never said guys are selfish,” he said. “They need to be more disciplined. You say ‘Look son, don’t put your hand on that hot stove.’ Once they touch it and get burned they start to say ‘Hey, I think I’ll listen to this guy…I think I’ll listen to Dad.’”
“We had too many big plays, missed assignments and lack of technique,” Saban said. “When you do that against a good team, you usually get exposed.”
“We have a lot to learn from and improve on. Hopefully our guys will respond to it in the right way.”
Saban gave the Tide defense for coming up with two crucial interceptions that made a big difference in a 7-point victory. Saban said the game was played under difficult circumstances, in high heat, and that many players needed IVs at halftime to rehydrate.
On the offensive side of the ball, Alabama put up nearly 600 yards of total offense, both running and passing the ball effectively.
Saban said he was happy with the Tide’s offensive balance and with the fact Texas A&M could not come up with a defensive sack.
“Most important is to win a game in the SEC, in our division, against a good team,” Saban said.
The Tide will face former offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, now head coach of Colorado State, when he brings his Rams to Bryant-Denny Stadium for a late home opener for the Tide.
Saban said Colorado State will have a good quarterback, good running back and good receivers. He said his former assistant, will have his team ready. “I have as much respect for (McElwain, as anybody who has ever coached for me,” Saban said.
Colorado State is 1-2 with close losses to Colorado and Tulsa to begin the season, and a win over Cal-Poly last week.
Alabama Injury Update
WR Kevin Norwood and corner Deion Belue are injured and classified as day-to-day by Saban. Offensive guard Anthony Steen is probable for Colorado State.
DB Geno Smith, who was charged with DUI several weeks ago, has to win back playing time, according to Saban.
“Geno’s got to beat somebody out,” Saban said. “Nobody’s got a right…just because you played in two games last year. You have to do the right things….play well…then nobody’s going to get your job.”
Saban addressed his thoughts on new defensive penalties for leading with the helmet. Ha Ha Clinton Dix was charged for the foul against A&M. After a replay review, a possible ejection was overturned, but the 15-yard penalty associated with the call was enforced according to the rules.
Saban said he believed that if a replay could overturn the ejection, effectively ruling the play was not an intentional foul, that the replay should also negate the yardage penalty.