SABAN: Julio's Fine

Alabama receiver Julio Jones was medically cleared to play in the second half of Alabama's 23-10 win over Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa Saturday night, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban said after the game, but Jones was held out after "stretching the muscles" in the same hand he had surgery on earlier this week.



"Julio's fine," Saban said in a post-game network radio interview. "He could have gone back in the game. We x-rayed him at halftime. His ring finger got bent back and stretched the muscles; it made him sore and kind of scared him a little bit, but he could have gone back in the game."

Jones caught one pass and dropped one pass in limited action before sitting out the second half. He did not return kickoffs or punts as he has in the past.

Saban said his goal after Alabama's loss to South Carolina last was to "get back to playing with the kind of effort, the kind of toughness, and the discipline, execution and intensity that you need to play with to play winning football."

"We probably hit on the toughness part," Saban said, "Guys really played hard, and I'm really proud of that. The intensity was good. The execution was not what it needs to be, and that's something we can to improve on."

Saban would have particularly liked better execution on offense – Alabama had 319 total yards and only 100 rushing yards – but he said Ole Miss's defensive schemes made that especially difficult Saturday night.

"We've actually struggled against these guys for three years in a row offensively," Saban said. "They pretty much take the run away from you… You have got to execute in the passing game. At times we did, and at times we didn't. They gave us too many negative plays, and the penalties hurt our offense stopping us on a couple of drives. We didn't make enough explosive plays."

Saban also made note of the difference in Alabama's 3rd-down defense in the first and second halves. Ole Miss was 0-for-8 on third down conversions in the first half, but converted 8 of 11 third downs in the second half.

"On their scoring drives, I know we had them in third down three times and never got them off the field," Saban said. "I know they were much better on third down, and that's why they possessed the ball in the second half because we didn't get them off the field on a couple of drives on third down."

Alabama goes to Knoxville next Saturday to play Tennessee at 6 p.m. That game will be televised on ESPN.


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