By (Terrin Waack)

Robert Foster was Alabama’s starting receiver.

He had his first career start with the Crimson Tide in the 2015 season opener against Wisconsin, where he totaled four receptions for 50 yards, leading the team. Foster also had his first touchdown after a 22-yard pass from Jake Coker.

He had four receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown against Middle Tennessee.

There were over two minutes left until halftime during the Ole Miss game. He had two receptions for 17 yards, but then, after an incomplete pass from Coker intended for him, Foster went down.

He ended up exiting the game with a shoulder injury, and concluded his season.

“Losing Robert Foster early on, who was a very, very good player for us, certainly affected our depth,” Saban said.

Since then, Alabama’s passing game is starting to see improvement. Without Foster, other wide receivers have stepped up and showed what they can do.

“Calvin Ridley sort of got thrown in maybe a little before he was ready and he responded really well,” Saban said.

Ridley, as a freshman, leads Alabama with 45 receptions for 525 yards and three touchdowns. His 81-yard touchdown pass from Coker marks his longest catch so far this season. Ridley averaged 65.5 yards per gams.

Following Ridley is ArDarius Stewart.

“ArDarius Stewart probably had his best game the last game [against Tennessee] in terms of his production and his performance,” Saban said.

Steward finished with five receptions for 88 yards against the Volunteers. Total, he’s had 31 caught passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 41.4 yards per game.

Richard Mullaney, like Stewart and Ridley, has seen time in all eight of Alabama’s games this season. He totaled 24 receptions for 230 yards and three touchdowns.

It’s not just the wide receivers that matter in the passing game but also the quarterback, and Saban said Coker has made steady improvement.

“We’re not totally satisfied with the consistency in the passing game in terms of the whole ball of wax,” Saban said. “In terms of protection, too much pressure on the quarterback, too many sacks.”

Alabama quarterbacks have been sacked 13 times this season.

Saban said timing in the passing is key. Alabama has been successful on 38 out of 113 third-down conversions, giving it a 0.34 success rate.

“We were better on third down in the last game [against Tennessee] but that’s been a bone of contention for us,” he said.

Alabama has also given up 64 tackles for loss for a total of 232 yards. Saban said this is due to mental errors, lack of communication and not blocking the right people on the field.

“It’s more of what we’re doing incorrectly than it is that the other team is doing something we can’t handle,” he said.

Alabama has given up 131 points this season, 45 of which are from turnovers.

With 54 total penalties for a loss of 487 yards, Alabama is shooting itself in the foot with forward progress. It averages a loss of 60.9 yards per game because of penalties.

“Those are the things we’ve talked about – too many negative plays and too many penalties,” Saban said. “Most of it is lack of execution and inconsistency.”

It’s all about working the little things out and cleaning up its game.

“We do quality control when we have a bye week,” Saban said. “You know, what do we want to improve on: defense, offense, special teams.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports