Unsatisfied Bunch

Tim Castille gave a harsh assessment of the performance of the Alabama offense in the first half in Bama's 30-14 win over Duke Saturday night, but probably the most realistic evaluation.

"Disastrous," Castille said. "It was terrible, man. It was really bad. There's no way around it. It was really bad."

Crimson Tide Head Coach Mike Shula put it more gently, but the message was pretty much the same. "If anyone ever talks about ugly wins then there might be a few people talking about this win like that," he said in his opening statement to the media Saturday night.

And for a change that was an assessment of the entire University of Alabama football team, not just the offense. Alabama allowed Duke more points in the first half Saturday night than they had scored all year. Duke had four times as many rushing yards in the first half than its per game average.

"We started out flat and stayed flat," Alabama Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines said. "We never did get it up to let it down. At the half everybody was standing around looking like a dear in the headlights."

Everybody. Not just the offense this time.

"We didn't stop the run like we normally do," Shula said. "We kind of got knocked back in the first half. We came in at halftime and just talked about regrouping, we're a better team than what we're playing, we've worked hard in practice not to look like this."

In the second half the Crimson Tide improved in all areas, but it wasn't the taste of victory Alabama players and coaches were talking about after the game.

"We got the win part down," quarterback John Parker Wilson said. "I don't know if we improved like we wanted to. We've still got a long way to go."

Castille, the senior fullback, echoed the long way to go sentiments.

"Offensively, I don't think that we got better tonight. That's the bottom line," he said. "Today, not anything positive. Not to where anybody would fear us offensively. To me we're still having the same problems. We got into the red zone today and we scored a couple of times but with the team we were playing that's what we were supposed to do and we still had to settle for some field goals. Tonight just wasn't good enough.

"We've got to get better offensively if we're going to come out and win the rest of our games like we have a goal of doing. We just have to. I don't know what we're going to do or how we're going to do it. That's really for our coaches. That's what they're here to do."

Shula said, "We have to get our mind on Ole Miss. Our team has to improve. If you want to have a good team you have to improve. We won the football game, but I don't know how much we got better. We won the game and they ought to be proud of that. We won the game and that's what you're in it for."

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