The boos rang out inside Bryant-Denny Stadium as the refs marked wide receiver ArDarius Stewart down less than a yard shy of the end zone. There was no way their guy didn’t score and to the fans the tackle looked dirty anyway.
Everything got louder when the crowd realized a holding call wiped the whole play out.
“That’s football it’s going to happen… So you got to bounce back from it,” Stewart said.
That penalty seemed to break the concentration of Alabama’s first true freshman to start at quarterback since 1984, Jalen Hurts.
He had previously completed four straight passes including the 63-yard pass to Stewart that was called back, but he took the only two sacks of the game and forced JK Scott’s first punt to come from the end zone.
“[I told Hurts the] same thing I told him the first week, you got to take control, take the reigns and we’ll be right there with him,” Stewart said.
Competition ruled the day for Alabama’s offense as it saw two quarterbacks and two right guards rotate in throughout the Crimson Tide’s 38-10 victory over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
Those competitions will likely continue during practice this week and potentially into next week’s road trip to Oxford, Mississippi to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. After the game, Alabama coach Nick Saban said he hopes both right guards, Alphonse Taylor and Ross Pierschbacher, can be productive for the team this season.
Saban also refused to name Hurts the starter moving forward even though he finished nine drives compared with fellow quarterback Blake Barnett’s four.
“I think we need to watch the film and make that decision,” Saban said. “I think the people around him, whoever plays quarterback here, need to play better. We had too much pressure in the pocket, too many penalties, too many long yardage situations and too many dropped balls.”
Those 12 penalties added up to move the Crimson Tide 84 yards in the wrong direction, but that doesn’t even come close to representing what Alabama actually lost in plays like Stewart’s would-be big gain.
However, despite the adversity Hurts seemed to take Stewart’s encouragement to step up to heart. He threw one of his two touchdowns on the next drive a few minutes later and went on to finish 23-of-36 for 287 yards while Barnett ended the game 2-of-6 for 64.
Alabama’s coach however, didn’t see things quite so optimistically after the game. The numerous miscues didn’t come close to Saban’s standards, but he said his team has been practicing poorly all week so maybe he wasn’t shocked with what he saw on Saturday.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever been this disappointed after winning a game maybe ever,” Saban said. “…I don’t think we respected the team that we played… So, we’ll certainly focus on that. It’s all my responsibility. We need to get the job done better. I’m almost embarrassed that I didn’t do a better job for my team.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports