Tide "Do Over" A Success
On Saturday night, however, against another presumptive pushover opponent in Western Kentucky, Saban said the Tide got it right in its 41-7 win. Saban contrasted this week's dominative win with last week's lethargic win.
"The goal in this game was to go prove that you could play to your capacity," Saban said, "that you could play your best football because of the competitive character you had; that you could go out and be aggressive and dominant on every play… We really did play like we had sort of wanted to play last weekend this week."
Saban was pleased with the way the game started, with a three-and-out by the defense and then an 11-play touchdown drive, but more importantly, he said, was that the Tide finished strong.
"We got to play a lot of players which is a real positive," he said. "We can go make some evaluations and know what we need to do with our depth from that. I wish we wouldn't have kept the ball so long (in the fourth quarter) because there were more defensive players we wanted to look at but it sort of worked out that way."
When asked to name a few of the Tide's most consistent players over the first three games, one of Saban's stated major goals, on offense he highlighted senior quarterback John Parker Wilson, offensive lineman Andre Smith (noting that although Smith didn't play last week he's had two good games), the running back combination of Mark Ingram and Glen Coffee.
On defense, Saban said nose tackled Terrence Cody has "been consistently dominant up front" and that linemen Brandon Deaderick, Lorenzo Washington, and linebackers Rolando McClain and Dante Hightower had played consistently well.
Saban said that the defensive secondary has been less consistent, and targeted the wide receivers, and specifically freshman Julio Jones, as an area for improvement coming away from Saturday night's game.
"I thought we had some drops and some miscues in the passing game that we have to clear up," he said. "That's the part of the game that's got to improve."
Asked about Jones, Saban said, "We try to get everybody involved, but they've gotta get open, too. (Western Kentucky) played off coverage (on Jones) tonight which gave us some gifts in what we could do and I hope that helps his confidence and helps him understand that when he does what we ask him to do good things happen. He has showed good maturity but the production has not been what we'd like it to be and I'm sure it's not like what he'd like it to be but he made some plays tonight and hopefully he will improve."
"Everything we've done to this point is to get ready and play in the SEC," Saban said (which begins next week when the Tide travels to Arkansas). "If we don't learn our lessons it'll show up in the teams we play in the future. I think that this team made a lot of changes in off season -- commitment, work ethic, overall character -- all those things improved. I was very disappointed with the lack of competitive maturity from game one to game two, but I'm also pleased that we've kind of learned from that and played better in the game tonight."
On the injury front, Saban said that offensive guard Marlon Davis could have played tonight but didn't, and that Davis will probably be back in the lineup next week. Running back Terry Grant left the game with a shoulder injury that was probably a strained rotator cuff, Saban said. He did not believe the injury was serious but said it would be Monday before a more thorough update could be given. Prince Hall, Saban said, got the wind knocked out of him but should be fine.
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