Alabama freshman Braxton Key could feel the frustration of his teammates fill in the air during the plane ride home from the site of Alabama’s latest head-scratching defeat, Austin, Texas.
When the players got back to the locker room they ended up airing their frustrations and taking blame for the mishaps that have the Crimson Tide 4-3.
“We all just felt we hadn’t been playing to the best of our abilities night in and night out, even within practice,” Key said. “We just felt like as of late, we’ve been slacking.”
Slacking is not something Alabama will be able to do against a No. 24 Oregon team that returns four starters and boasts a school-record 30-game winning streak at home.
The Crimson Tide actually held a 12-point advantage heading into the break of last year’s loss to eventual NCAA No. 1 seed Oregon last season. That’s also the exact same lead the team had during the game against the Longhorns on Dec. 2.
“I think every game is kind of a must win. Our first home game, our game against Dayton, all of them our like that,” coach Avery Johnson said. “…But at the same time there is no panic, we’re seven games into the season.”
Despite the challenge ahead and the chance for revenge, the players and Johnson emphasized focus on internal problems that need to be solved rather than the upcoming trip to Eugene, Oregon.
One area Johnson would like to see improvement is the amount of turnovers his team commits.
“When team’s raise their defensive pressure against us offensively we don’t go to any of our automatics,” Johnson said.
Another change to the starting lineup is also on the way for the Crimson Tide. On Thursday, Johnson announced that Nick King, a starter in the team’s last two games, will be unable to make the trip for Sunday’s 5 p.m. game against Oregon.
He is also expected to miss the next week or two with his with his undiagnosed medical situation. Alabama will hosts three games- USC Upstate, Clemson (in Birmingham, Alabama) and Arkansas State (in Huntsville, Alabama) during that stretch.
“Nick’s had some severe weight loss over the last week to 10 days that we’re very concerned about,” Johnson said. “He went to the doctor so we’re running a battery of tests on Nick. He hasn’t been able to sleep and eat.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports