By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Tyler Waldrep)

There’s still a long way to go.

That’s the message from coach Nick Saban after Saturday’s 35-17 win over #20 Wisconsin.

“We’re just starting to climb a mountain here and we took one step and that’s it,” Saban said.

That step might have been a leap for the offense. Saban refused to outline a plan going forward concerning the quarterbacks, but he did say that both Cooper Bateman and Jake Coker did a good job with the snaps they were given.

Saban said he expects less experienced players, like the quarterbacks, to benefit from Saturday’s game. The quarterbacks were not the only ones who benefitted from a balanced offensive performance. Alabama completed 21-of-29 passes to nine different players.

“When the young players got a chance to play, they need to see the standard that we expect guys to play to around here, regardless of the circumstance and situation in the game,” Saban said.

The changes to Alabama’s offense were not limited to the field. Alabama also adopted the use of blown up play cards in the offseason that many hurry up offenses already employ around the country, which Saban said worked well in the game.

While the offense was stealing the show on Saturday, the defense, somewhat quietly, held Wisconsin under 275 yards of total offense, but everything didn’t always work out as planned. There is plenty of youth on the defensive side of the ball especially in the secondary.

“The defensive front kind of controlled their running game, which was their sort of their forte,” Saban said. “We had three pass interference [penalties] by the DBs, unnecessary penalties that were probably caused by lack of fundamental disciple and execution of technique.”

Going forward Saban said he both sides of the ball can improve on third down. This week’s challenge is a Middle Tennessee program that just put up 600 yards and scored 70 points in last week’s opener against Jackson State.

“[Coach] Rick Stockstill has been there for a while and they do a great job,” Saban said. “They go fast, it’s probably going to be a hot day, so we’ve got lots of issues and lots of problems to deal with just in creating the type of performance that we want to create.”

Going into the home opener, Saban wants the team to respect this weekend’s opponent. He said he liked what he saw out of the team last weekend.

“I think the team had fun playing together, which was good to see,” Saban said. “It’s always exciting as a coach when you think the players are out there having fun, hat on hat. They’re down, they’re up. They’re doing the things that you like to see from an energy and enthusiasm standpoint.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports