Saban Says Alabama Fans Expecting Too Much

Along the lines of “No good deed goes unpunished,” who gets the blame for the high expectations of Alabama football fans? Could it be Nick Saban? Since he became head coach in 2007, Alabama has won 84 games and lost 16. The Crimson Tide has won three national championships.

So why would Alabama fans be expected to be Debbie Downers?

It may be a matter of “Ignorance is bliss.” Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban said last Saturday’s 14-13 win over Arkansas in Fayetteville was “a tough game, which we expected. We expected the game to be exactly like it was. That’s what we expected as coaches.”

The head coach said, “I know a lot of people would say it was ugly and they want to write the team off because of how we played, whether it was on special teams, offense, defense at times, because the execution wasn't there and at times we didn't play smart, in terms of some of the choices and decisions that we made. But those things can be improved on and those things can be fixed.”

He said that “It was a great win for the team,” citing the come-from-behind aspect and the way the players “pulled together.” He also lauded the players for a “will not be denied attitude, which I think is really, really important.”

Early in his Monday press briefing, Saban gave a hint of what was on his mind. He said that while his players worked through the tough circumstances, “I know everybody else expects something completely different because they sometimes don't respect other people like they should.”

Saban then noted that Bama does need to improve in areas. “There’s no doubt about it,” he said. “We need to control the line of scrimmage better. We don't need to make as many mental errors on defense, especially on third down. We need to play much better on special teams than what we've been playing. We need to improve in all of those areas."

“But I like the attitude of the team. I think it's something that we want to build on. Certainly we'll need to for this week.”

After going through the players of the week and the injury situation (no new serious injuries, although he expected defensive end D.J. Pettway and wide receiver Amari Cooper to be limited in Monday’s work), Saban answered questions for awhile.

A question about whether Saban was frustrated by mistakes by his players—particularly senior players—brought a response that he wasn’t frustrated, because the players are working hard and pulling together.

You, however, Mr. and Ms. Alabama Fan...

“Everybody’s got such a high expectation of what our team should be,” Saban said. “I was just happy to see our players be happy to be playing the game and winning. It really, sort of, if you want to know the truth about it, pisses me off when I talk to people that have this expectation like they are disappointed that we only won the game 14-13 and in the way we played. Really, that's frustrating. You want to talk about what's frustrating, that's frustrating, to me, for our players, who play with a lot of heart in the game.”

To be honest, most Alabama fans probably expected the Crimson Tide to be 6-0 at the halfway point of the regular season. That is not the case. Alabama is 5-1 overall and 2-1 in Southeastern Conference games.

Bama continues in league play this week, but does return to Bryant-Denny Stadium after back-to-back SEC road games.

Alabama will host Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday with CBS televising the game. The Aggies have a 5-2 overall record, 2-2 in SEC games.

Saban reminded everyone that since Texas A&M joined the SEC, “we’ve had a couple of great games with them."

“This is one of the most prolific offensive teams in the country in terms of their scoring output, yards per game, passing. Their quarterback's one of the national leaders in passing offense."

“Defensively, I think they're very, very athletic, create a lot of negative plays. They sack the quarterback and sort of lots of negative plays created by their athleticism. They have a lot of starters back and a lot of experience."

“Very good, very sound team on special teams."

“This team is a real challenge. Their offense is one of the best passing offenses in the country. Certainly coached very well in the passing game. They still can run the football, but they make a lot of big plays in the passing game and we're going to certainly have to be at our best to do a good job of trying to get them stopped."

“We're also going to have to control the ball on offense so they don't have it all the time. Those things are really critical in a game like this.”

Say what you will, there’s good reason to expect a very tough game. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

Next story:

Is Tide Going To Be Among Elite?

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