Saban: Turn the page on rout of Aggies

By Hunter Ford

It’s time for Alabama “to turn the page” on its rout of Texas A&M and focus on the battle with Tennessee, set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

That was Nick Saban’s message in a brief Monday press conference. Saban said he was proud of his team for playing with “intensity” and “emotion” while maintaining discipline and executing well.

He said he didn’t see anything “different” while reviewing game films of the 59-0 win over the Aggies.

“But when you look at things closely, you know, you always find things you can improve on, and areas we can execute better,” he said.

Saban said Tennessee, 3-4, 0-3, could easily be 5-2. The Vols lost close games with Georgia, 35-32, and Florida, 10-9.  Tennessee lost 34-3 at Ole Miss last week.

“This game we have every year with Tennessee is very special and means a lot to our fans,” Saban said. “It means a lot to me, and our staff, and our players.

The Volunteers have very experienced skill players on offense and a defensive unit that is much improved from last year’s squad, according to Saban.


Starting center Ryan Kelly should be available to play against Tennessee according to Saban. Kelly was injured in a loss at Ole Miss and missed games against Arkansas and Texas A&M.  Right tackle Austin Shepherd, who went down against Texas A&M, will be limited in practice today, but should be available to play in the game Saturday at Tennessee.


Linebackers Reuben Foster and Dillon Lee were named special teams Players of the week versus A&M. Running back T.J. Yeldon and left guard Arie Koundjio earned offensive honors, while linebackers Ryan Anderson and Reggie Ragland represented the defense.


Alabama is looking like a title contender again but still has tough SEC games ahead.







Add Yours
  1. 1

    Alabama has been such a different team away from Bryant-Denny Stadium this year, I’m more curious than nervous about Tennessee.

    The only thing I’m really scared of is injury, namely to Cooper simply because he’s the target for almost half of Alabama’s throws, the highest in the nation, and UT (as always) will be out for blood.

    I’m sure this sounds like Gump logic, but I think the TAMU win this past weekend (and the changes the week leading up to it) glued this team together as a unit in a way that’s impossible to quantify but that nearly all title-winning teams have.

    After all, it wasn’t that long ago (was it?) that Alabama lost a close SEC game, played a tight win over a good team the next, then absolutely dominated everyone else to eventually end the season with a national championship.

    Seriously though, doesn’t the 2014 season at this point look oddly similar to the 2011 season? Ole Miss has to lose two conference games just for Alabama to have a shot at the SEC title game (and I don’t see that happening unless LSU turns it up this weekend), yet if Alabama scores a ton on offense and stops nearly everything on defense like in 2011, what’s to stop them from being picked for the playoff?

    After the losses we’ve seen across the country, it’s not that it’s a stretch, but rather it can’t be that crazy to consider that as a motivating factor for Alabama. Specifically, Alabama doesn’t control its destiny outright, but they are acting and playing like they do which could make all the difference, and it all starts Saturday in Knoxville. I won’t feel bad if the end result is a bright orange bloodbath.

  2. 2
    Better Lucky than Good

    Nope you could be right, Alabama could luck out and end up in the National Championship game again, even though they were not good enough to win their own division or conference championship. But if they do, and win it all, at least this time they will have partially earned it on the field. Unlike a few of the other bogus 15 National Championships claimed by bama, when they cleary were not the best team nor had the best record in the land.

    • 3

      @better lucky than good

      Fine. But Alabama also doesn’t claim several titles in the past where they beat the team that won the title and had a better record.

      Go figure.

      Alabama also doesn’t claim titles where there was at least a de facto national title game they weren’t in or didn’t win. Things are washy for the entire sport before 1981. In the 21st century, they really aren’t, at least not when it comes to claiming titles regardless of who might be the best team in the nation any given season.

      Fortunately for all of us, Alabama hasn’t rested on its laurels in any sport, certainly including football.

      You mention, “even though they were not good enough to win their division or championship.”

      That’s a loaded statement, and I’m not sure exactly what you’re trying to say although even without sounding like a homer Gump, they haven’t lost the division yet, either.

      This year though, I’m afraid Alabama will have to prove it to get into the playoff, and I mean really prove it.

      In other words, I dont’ think they’ll win the division and therefore won’t be in the SEC title game to win that, either because I don’t think Ole Miss will lose two football games (they will lose one, not two, and if they win out then it’s clearer). But that also means Alabama has to dominate both on offense and defense, much like in 2011.

      Problem is, to do that they really have to improve or perform consistently at the level they did against TAMU.

      Here’s the thing——if they do that, then they will have become arguably the best team in the country, and I’d worry more about facing Alabama than Alabama facing anyone else.

      Mind you, I don’t think it’s going to happen that way, but if it does, it’s going to be pretty obvious again who the best team most likely is, and the argument will still be they didn’t “deserve” it despite the injuries in the loss in their first away game and narrow loss early in the season preventing their conference title bid, etc.

      You know, I’m not sure what the reaction would be if it was happening to anyone else. Again, I don’t think this will happen. Frankly, I think Alabama loses another game. But nobody seemingly jumps on Oregon or tOSU like that, and meanwhile they treat FSU beating one of the all-time winningest programs as if it were actually a loss. It’s kinda silly. I think it will all work out, but I also think people will cry louder than ever before no matter how decisive the playoff is.

      The official playoff selections begin during Alabama’s & LSU’s bye-week. It’s time to get curious, not furious.

  3. 4
    Hunter Ford

    Two Mississippi teams in top five and Archie Manning takes a leave of absence from playoff committee b/c of knee surgery?

    • 5
      The Conduit

      Complications from knee surgery.

      From what I’ve heard these members have to watch a lot of tape, including outside of the top 25. I’m OK with Manning, he’s earned the benefit of the doubt here, and the bottom line is he’ll probably be on the committee next year anyway.

  4. 6

    Until Alabama looks good on the road for 2 average games in a row, I just won’t feel comfortable with them playing there. Tennessee’s defense played Ole Miss well, but the offense made unforced TOs and the score quickly went from 3-0 to 14-3; then, you knew it was pretty much over. That fact along with Alabama’s road struggles could make this game very interesting in Tennessee’s best case scenario. In Alabama’s best case scenario, Alabama’s defense looked as it did against TAMU(in which–I might add–nobody made them look nearly as bad as that, not Ole Miss or MSU) and the score is 40 plus point win. Alabama had better have things worked out on the road for this one, because they want as few doubts as possible as they head into Baton Rouge with LSU playing somewhat like top 5 LSU. They need to win out and they’ve got 2 really big games at home and 2 good teams on the road. They had better get the road issues in check before LSU(and this is the last one).

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