Alabama coach Nick Saban was not happy when he walked off the sideline last Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
No. 1 Alabama won, 38-10, against an unranked Western Kentucky, but Alabama did not play up to its coach’s standards.
“Last week we didn’t like what happened, how we played and how we finished,” wide receiver ArDarius Stewart said. “So this week we just tried to capitalize on the little things like all the penalties we had. We will try to eliminate those and just come out faster.”
Focus will be needed for Alabama, as the Crimson Tide travels to Oxford, Mississippi, for its first SEC game of the year again Ole Miss.
The No. 19 Rebels have defeated the Crimson Tide the last two years, giving Alabama two of its three losses over those 2014-15 seasons. This week’s series of practice reflected that fact, as Alabama looked to clean up its game. It needed to.
“We’ve had a better week of practice. Players have been more focused,” Saban said. “This is a difficult preparation, trying to get the scout team to do no-huddle for the offense and trying to work out some of the bugs and some of the mistakes that we need to get corrected from a week ago in terms of our ability to execute with any kind of consistency.”
Stewart believes the issues stemmed from a leadership standpoint. He made it a priority that the leaders of the team were more vocal this week.
“We felt like we got a little complacent last week,” Stewart said. “We just wanted to get the tempo up and get things going and go a little faster. Today was pretty hot out there. So I just had to tell the guys to come on with it.”
Some of the players who, as Stewart called it, “came with it” were on the scout team. Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick said the scout team helped increase Alabama’s game pace, so it’s prepared to keep up with Ole Miss on Saturday.
At Wednesday’s practice, Fitzpatrick and other defensive backs were seen covering scout team receivers. Ole Miss was ranked No. 1 in the SEC with 334.7 passing yards per game in 2015.
“The scout team did a great job in practice,” Fitzpatrick said. “Coach Saban actually mentioned it today how well they were doing. They’re bringing in guys in from both sidelines and moving real fast. They’re fresh, they’re running, and we’re going eight, nine plays in a row with hands on our hips, getting tired. But it’s going to get us right for the game.”
Saban said the team was anxious going into the game against Ole Miss last year. To avoid déjà vu, Alabama hopes to move the focus it showed during practice to the game.
That’s always easier said than done, though.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports