Saban sees plenty of positives surrounding team after most recent win
A lot of people might not consider the meticulous, super-intense Nick Saban to be a glass half full type of guy.
Well, after what he saw out of his team last Saturday, he is this week.
What a lot of average Joes who watched the Alabama-Kentucky game last Saturday remember most about the game is Alabama’s first-quarter miscues — a dropped pass on third down and two red-zone fumbles — and the resulting 0-0 score after one quarter of play.
Saban saw all that too. But he also saw a lot of good things.
“I was really pleased with the way our guys responded and competed in the last game,” the Bama head coach said this week. “I think they really kind of answered the bell in terms of the effort that we played with and the toughness that we played with even though we have some things to clean up and things didn’t go well early in the game for us.
“I think the lesson to be learned there is that if you compete well and just play the next play that sometimes you can miss a four-foot putt and still win. That’s what I was really pleased with — the way our team just kept playing in the game and really did a nice job on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.”
Yes, Alabama players made three big mistakes in the first quarter, but in order to commit red-zone fumbles a team has to get into the red zone. And Alabama didn’t make those two trips into the red zone by accident. Heck, Alabama rolled up 668 yards of total offense on Kentucky last Saturday and those boat load of yards didn’t start in the second quarter. They started in the first quarter.
“I think it’s a total misconception that we didn’t start the game well,” Saban said. “Like most people in the world you people (the media) are all result-oriented. We moved the ball down the field three times in a row and dropped a pass on third down and fumbled it twice — once on the 5-yard line, once on the 15-yard line or whatever. My question is: ‘How did we get there to start with?’ Did we play horribly bad to move the ball down the field and get it to the 5-yard line?
“So was it a slow start or was it just a matter of two turnovers and a dropped third-down pass where we stopped ourselves in three circumstances. So I didn’t think we started off slow. I just think we didn’t finish the drives like we needed to do to cash in … So you’ve got to be technical about what was bad. Just because we didn’t score the first three times we had the ball even though we moved the ball down the field doesn’t necessarily mean it was all bad.”
Saban said the two fumbles — one by Kenyon Drake and the other by T.J. Yeldon — were mostly due to improper technique. Prior to Saturday’s game, Alabama had lost only one fumble all season while putting the ball on the turf four times.
“It was uncharacteristic for our backs but something that we certainly need to work on,” Saban said.
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