Saban admits Rebels put defense in tough spot

Though Alabama beat Ole Miss 33-14 Saturday night to improve to 5-0, head coach Nick Saban admitted that the Rebels' uptempo, hurry-up offense caught the Tide a little off guard.

Alabama faced its biggest test at the hands of Ole Miss Saturday night.

The No. 1 Crimson Tide ended up winning 33-14, but after pummeling their first four opponents, they showed signs of vulnerability in their first SEC home game.

"You have to give Ole Miss a lot of credit," said head coach Nick Saban. "We had a lot of respect for their team coming into this, but nobody really listens to me until after the fact and they say, ‘Yeah, you were right.'"

Alabama had prepared all week for Ole Miss' uptempo, hurry-up offense, but Saban admitted that at times, the pace of the game was too fast.

"Defensively, we were in some tough spots out there," he said. "It was really difficult to sub players. At times, I think we got tired on the longer drives when we couldn't sub players because if they don't sub, you really can't sub because when they snap it quick, you aren't ready.

"We weren't ready to play when they hit the first big touchdown on their first drive. Guys were still looking at the bench trying to get a signal."

The Rebels took a brief, 15-second lead in the second quarter to go up 7-6, but Alabama quickly responded when Christion Jones returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. Less than three minutes later, quarterback A.J. McCarron found true freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper for a 16-yard score. Alabama would take a 27-7 lead at halftime.

But the second half didn't see a lot of scoring. The Tide didn't put any points up in the third quarter and struggled in the red zone, settling for field goals from 26 and 24 yards out in the fourth quarter.

After the game, Saban summed up the second half.

"We got the stops on defense, but then went three-and-out and never really put a drive together and kicked two field goals," he said. "We need to do a little bit better job of finishing games."

Later he added: "We've settled for too many field goals too many times."

Saban vowed these will be the things they work on during the bye week.

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