Alabama Concentrating On Better Execution

There have been some true wits in sports. It may have been John McKay at Southern Cal or Duffy Daugherty at Michigan State. Or it may have been the peg-leg baseball manager in the comic strip, B.C.

The situation was a reporter talking to this coach after his team lost. “What do you think about your team’s execution?” was the question.

“I’d be for it,” was the coach’s answer.

Alabama is coming off a disappointing loss at the hands of Ole Miss, and Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban was discussing execution Wednesday, though nothing so drastic as a date with Yellow Mama, the legendary state electric chair.

Most obvious in Bama’s loss last Saturday were the five turnovers – two kickoff returns that were fumbled and three passes that were intercepted. They led to Ole Miss having a handful of short drives for scores – starting a field goal drive from the Alabama 17 and touchdown drives from the Tide 26, Bama 18, and Alabama 31 after turnovers.

Saban said, “Our focus here is just better execution. We didn't feel like we executed very well in the last game and if we're going to improve as a team, as coaches we've got to do a better job of getting more guys to play with the kind of consistency that eliminates negative plays, turnovers, and big plays on defense.”

Alabama took Monday off from the practice field, but not from work. Saban said, “We didn’t practice, but we didn’t really give the players a day off. We watched film and made corrections and did a walkthrough to do that.

“Most of the players have responded (to the loss) the way you’d like for them to. Hopefully, we’ll get everybody else on board.”

As has frequently been the case since the end of the 2014 season, there was a question about the quarterbacks. How have they done?

Saban said, “I think that every part of our team, including the quarterbacks, could assess their play and say, 'There are things that we have done well and there are things that we need to do better, probably with more consistency.'

“I think both guys (Jacob Coker, who started the first two games, and Cooper Bateman, who started against Ole Miss) have played well enough for us to win. I think if we could get the people on all the other parts of our team to play the way we need to play, we would be just fine.”

This week Alabama is host in Bryant-Denny Stadium to Louisiana Monroe in a non-conference game. Kickoff will be at 3 p.m. CDT and the SEC Network will televise the game. It was no surprise that Saban was reminded of the 2007 game when Monroe upset Alabama, 21-14. Saban even got a reminder that at LSU he had lost to UAB.

The Tide coach pointed out that when the Monroe loss occurred the current players “were in the sixth grade,” and the loss to UAB came “when they were in probably the second grade. It was in the first year of our program in both cases. Hopefully our players will respond better to what we need to do and respect our opponents and go play the way they're capable of playing. I know that's more the focus that we have here right now.”

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