"As soon as he dropped back, he threw," Torbush continued. "It wasn't like he was sitting back there waiting to throw the ball. He threw it immediately.
"And that probably had a lot to do with him being only eight for 24. Last year I think he was about a 60 percent pass completion passer, and he threw for less than 40 percent during this game."
Only once did Alabama turn in a sack, as senior defensive end Aries Monroe was credited with tackling the Bruin QB behind the line of scrimmage early in the third quarter. "I told the players you can't get frustrated about that," Torbush said. "What we did was pressure him and make him get rid of the ball. We need more sacks than that, but at the same time if they're going to throw it that quickly, then it's going to be hard to get them down."
After reading comments from Tide Head Coach about Torbush and the Bama blitz, many fans were disappointed that they didn't see more in Saturday's game. But just because something isn't obvious to the casual fan, doesn't mean it didn't occur. "We did blitz early," Torbush explained. "We blitzed probably more than the naked eye would see. They weren't all-out blitzes and that kind of thing, but we did blitz quite a bit. But the Bruin quarterback got rid of it so quickly, that you often couldn't tell."
No one can be happy following a loss, but the Bama defenders showed an intensity that was often missing in previous seasons. "I thought the kids played awful hard," Torbush related. "I thought we had a great urgency in playing. Basically our alignments and assignments were good.
"I felt our players competed extremely well. Maybe the biggest plus we had--we said at the beginning that we wanted to have a chance to win at the end. And we had that chance. We just didn't quite get it done, but we had the opportunity to win the ball game."
And after abysmal performances by the Tide defense last season on third and long, Torbush noted a marked improvement versus UCLA. "The biggest thing that I saw that I really liked was the ability to do a good job on third down. When you take an offense like UCLA's and they only convert one out of 13 third-down situations, you feel good about that."
However, while acknowledging the positives Torbush also pointed out specific areas that have to improve. "We missed too many tackles," he stated. "Their talent had something to do with that, but I think we can tackle a lot better than we did. We have got to create turnovers and takeaways, which we did not. And we've got to eliminate the big play. We had two or three big plays that hurt us. They had two plays, a run for 40 and a pass for over 50 that hurt us. If you eliminate those, then we have a lot better chance to win the ball game."
In seasons past the Tide players were given Sunday off, before returning to practice on Monday. But Franchione prefers to get back on the practice field immediately to work on mistakes. "I think everything I saw on film is correctable," Torbush said. "We made some mistakes, but none we can't correct and get better. I expect a great deal of improvement this week.
"We worked Sunday trying to make sure we can take care of our responsibilities on coverage. Make sure that we understand the intricacies of the combination routes that (opposing teams) can run."
The UCLA game provided good reason for that emphasis, as UCLA quarterback Cory Paus hit a streaking Tab Perry for a 53-yard touchdown. Two Tide DBs were ‘in the area,' but neither was close enough to defend the pass.
Explained Torbush; "It was not a busted coverage. We just basically need to stay with one guy instead of switching between two of our secondary guys. We let (Perry) get behind us. I think he got behind us before we realized that he was there, and we couldn't recover from it.
"But as far as what we were doing it was sound. I think we made some plays on some balls in the air. We just need to take care of it--especially on third and 16. What you want to do (in that situation) is let them catch it for a five-yarder and tackle them."
After working to correct that coverage, the Bama defense spent the rest of Sunday's practice on the basics of blocking and tackling. "Basically Sunday is a fundamental day," Torbush related. "What we do is take care of some fundamentals technically that we don't get time for during the week as we prepare for the next team."
Of course that next team is Vanderbilt, an SEC opponent that always seems to play Alabama tough. The Commodores lost their season-opener to MTSU 37-28. But 477 yards of total offense indicate that Torbush's troops will be challenged.
Torbush summed up the first week's effort; "Overall we did a pretty good job, but again there are three or four things that we need to do better. We jumped off-sides twice in short yardage, which cannot happen. The conversion that (UCLA) made on third and 16 cannot happen. And we've got to have some takeaways.
"If we do that, then we've got a chance to be a productive football team."
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