By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Terrin Waack)

It’s been less than a year since Alabama was in the exact position it is in right now–the week of practice after losing by a six-point deficit to Ole Miss.

Instead of hanging its head and dwelling on the past, Alabama is using the loss as motivation to prove itself and be prosperous for the rest of the season.

“I think it’s as much a part of the Alabama way–or the program that we have here–is for people to respond the right way when they’re tested,” coach Nick Saban said. “Based on the preparation so far, that has been good.”

Before Saturday’s game at home against University of Louisiana-Monroe, Saban said the team will clean up mistakes and focus on mental practice.

Lineback Denzel Devall said practice has been good and for the most part, the team is moving forward and getting better.

“We’ve responded well to losses in the past,” he said. “Everyone’s responded to this one. We just want the team to get better, that’s the main [thing] getting better.”

After Saturday’s game, where it had five turnovers, Alabama has been putting an emphasis on turnovers. Devall said there have been different turnover drills that included stripping the ball, ripping at the ball and looking for any kind of edge the team can get in turnovers.

“It was new, but a lot of guys responded to it well,” Devall said. “It makes us better as a defense, and the offense in protecting the ball. It’s been a positive move for us.”

Turnover drills have become a daily part of practice. It works on both sides of ball, too, including offense and defense. Devall said it’s fun, especially when it’s hard to get the ball out from certain teammates. He likes the challenge it presents.

“We have emphasized turnovers more than I ever have in 42 years or however long I’ve been coaching,” Saban said. “We do turnover drills every day. We do it against each other.”

During its first game, Wisconsin didn’t get any points off of turnovers from Alabama. Middle Tennessee scored seven points off turnovers. Then, Ole Miss totaled 24 points off Alabama turnovers.

Numbers are just numbers though.

“I would say, and I said it before, even if we didn’t have five turnovers, I would be standing here saying, ‘I think we need to play better,’” Saban said.

Now, this Saturday, Alabama hopes to be the team that forces the turnovers instead of vice versa.

Saban said Lousiana-Monroe has a good offensive scheme that involves a lot of motions and things that defense will need to adjust to.

“They do a nice job in the passing game and they do a good job on the perimeter of blocking,” Saban said. “Throwing little flare passes and blocking people. It’s a spread-style offense, but their receivers are effective guys. That’s what they do.”

The team watched game film and gone over the different things Louisiana-Monroe does in its offense. Saban said Alabama is going to have to affect the quarterback with the rushes it has but also play a sound, solid coverage.

It’s about execution. It’s about cleaning up its game and executing the things it failed to do so in its previous game. Everyone needs to do their job, including the coaches.

“We’re all responsible, we’re all trying to do a better job,” Saban said. “I think our coaches are working very hard, they’re worked hard all year. It’s just very frustrating when you don’t get the kind of execution you want to get.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports