Tide Learned a Lesson the Hard Way Saturday
That proverbial hot stove little hands aren’t supposed to touch?
The Alabama defense had its mitts all over it Saturday afternoon in College Station. Like to the tune of a school-record 628 yards allowed. The good news is that the top-ranked and two-time defending champ Crimson Tide (2-0 overall, 1-0 in SEC) escaped with a 49-42 win over Texas A&M and in addition to that there are still plenty games left to play — beginning this Saturday at home against Colorado State — for Bama’s burn-scarred defense to show it got last Saturday’s painful message.
“I think we’re a work in progress,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said Monday. “I think we’re better than we were before, and I think no matter how many times you tell someone, ‘Look son, don’t touch the stove. It’s hot.’ Once they touch it and get burned, then they start saying, ‘Maybe I’ll listen to the guy. Maybe dad knows what he’s talking about.’”
It was clear Monday, Saban, with his stove-touching analogy, was referencing the Tide defense, which, outside a pair of interceptions, didn’t play well against Johnny Manziel & Co. Manziel threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns, while receiver Mike Evans hauled in seven passes for 279 yards and a TD.
Saban said the defense allowed too many big plays, missed too many assignments and had too many instances of poor technique.
And got exposed.
“I think a lot of lessons were learned in this (Texas A&M) game,“ Saban said. “So now when you say don’t drop your hands when you’re playing bump-and-run and the guy does it 15 times in the game and gets beat, now he’ll see why you were telling him. You tell a guy a hundred times to get in the middle of the field, and he doesn’t get there, now he can see what happens when he doesn’t get there. It’s no different than touching the stove.
“Sometimes people react better when things don’t go well than they do when things go well. Don’t ask me why that is, but it is a fact. So we have a lot to improve on, a lot to learn from, and hopefully guys will respond and do it the right way.”
While many see No. 1 Alabama — winners of three of the last four BCS titles — as another juggernaut this season, Saban sees something else — a squad in desperate need of improvement.
“There’s no question I don’t feel like we are where we need to be as a team,” Saban said. “There’s definitely many, many things we need to improve on. And I think the most important thing about that is players having the discipline to trust and believe in doing things the way we want them done … Without that improvement we’re not going to get where we want to go.”
The Alabama-Colorado State game — the Tide’s 2013 home opener — is slated for a 6 p.m. CT kickoff at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
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