Opening Victory Pleases Saban

Alabama Coach Nick Saban will know more about the specifics of his players after he views the videotapes of Saturday night's 41-14 win over Michigan in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas. But he's seen enough football to know that his second ranked Crimson Tide competed well.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said following Saturday's season-opening win that he was "really proud of our team. I thought they did a great job of competing in the game, played with a lot of energy, toughness, very physical."

And in that best of all worlds for a coach, the Tide got its victory over eighth-ranked Michigan and still, Saban said, "There's certainly a lot of things that we can improve on. I don't think there's one player that could…tell you now there's not something that we could work to improve on, and we certainly need to focus on that in the future.

"I thought this was a big win for us against a very good team. And we're looking forward to working on the things that we need to impove on so that we can be a better team in the future."

Saban called Michigan "a really good team. They've got a great quarterback.

"And I thought our offensive line sort of dominated the line of scrimmage. And we ran the ball effectively.

"I thought AJ (quarterback A.J. McCarron) did a good job of getting us in the right place and also making a few effective throws. We need to be a more explosive team in the passing game, which I think we're capable of. We need to clean up and improve on it.

"We did a good job on special teams for the most part."

Since the end of last season, when the 2011 Crimson Tide won the national championship, Saban has talked about the need for the 2012 Bama to create its own identity. He said the win over Michigan was "a step in that direction. But that's something that happens over time."

On the injury front, Saban said that safety Robert Lester has a shoulder stinger, freshman linebacker Reggie Ragland and sophomore linebacker Trey DePriest both suffered ankle injuries, and that nose tackle Jesse Williams "has a mild concussion."

Saban said that the passing game can be better. "I thought AJ did a really good job for us," Saban said. "I think we're capable of throwing the ball more effectively. That's something that I think we need to work on. We just need to clean it up, clean up the protection; work on the timing with the receivers.

"I think we have some pretty good receivers this year.

"And if we're going to be the kind of team we're capable of, we're going to have to be able to create balance on offense, because AJ's really tood good of a quarterback for us not to utilize his talents in throwing the football."

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