As the Alabama defense was giving up 400 yards in passing to Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen, Alabama Coach Nick Saban was fuming. Never mind that the defense also contributed three interceptions by Minkah Fitzpatrick – one returned 100 yards for a touchdown – and a fumble recovery by Tim Williams for a TD.
Saban was irritated during the game. But the only way he could offer his displeasure to Assistant Coach Derrick Ansley, who coaches the safeties, was through his headset, because Ansley was in the coaching booth in the press box. If he wanted to jump the man who coaches the cornerbacks in practice, he would be talking to himself.
So he had discussion with Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, whose response seemed as heated as Saban’s.
And speaking of that headset, it was discarded with fury by Saban at the end of the game, which was punctuated by Bama giving up one final pass completion, a 29-yard throw down the middle.
The Alabama coach was pleased to get a 49-30 victory over 16th ranked Arkansas on the road to improve the Bama record to 6-0, including 3-0 in Southeastern Conference games, but he also had concerns about the performance.
Saban did point out that defensive backs have to make quick decisions, and if those decisions are wrong, the result is likely to be unfavorable.
"It's like a guy batting in baseball," Saban said. 'You just have to make a decision whether you swing at the ball, take it for a ball. And good hitters usually hit good pitches. Well most of our guys are pretty instinctive but we broke on a ball tonight that maybe we could have intercepted. But we have to make a decision 'Do I intercept the ball, do I swat and hook the guy or do I make a tackle.' He ran right by him and the guy ran for 80 yards.
"Those kind of fundamental things, our guys are better than that."
It should be added that Saban gave credit to the Arkansas offense, and particularly Allen and the receivers.
He also complimented the play of the offense, particularly in the first half when Bama had 34 plays, 396 yards, and 35 points.
Saban said that tailback Joshua Jacobs, who fumbled at the Arkansas 1-yard line early in the game, suffered an injury to a nerve in his elbow, but was cleared to play later in the game. Jacobs, however, did not play later in the game.
He said that both linebacker Reuben Foster and offensive guard Alphonse Taylor suffered what he indicated were minor concussions.
Video by A.P. Steadham