Four days after Alabama’s 38-19 win in Missouri, Nick Saban’s frustration with the way his team played in the second half of his opening game was evident.
Alabama was eclipsed, 16-10, and won, 209-99, in the second half by the Tigers, who scored two goals in the fourth quarter against a combination of tidal starts and back up in defense.
Offensively, Alabama gave newcomer Brace Young playtime late in the third quarter and finished the second half with an average of just 3.5 yards per game, compared to 7.9 yards in the first half.
“I went home and felt bad because I have to have done a really bad job, not preparing players to play the game but maintaining their intensity throughout the match,” Saban said during a video conference on Wednesday. “And to do a good job in the first half to try to get them out and conserve the energy they need to maintain the ability to play 60 minutes into the match.
“I don’t think about it, looking at the scoreboard – we always say there is no scoreboard.”
Alabama led 35-3 in the middle of the third quarter and the outcome of the match was not in doubt even with Missouri trailing. But from a teaching standpoint, Saban thinks the outcome may be more dangerous for her players than the big upset on Saturday – Kansas that toppled third-ranked Oklahoma.
The Sooners advanced, 35-14, late in the third quarter of that match before allowing 24 unanswered points to score their second devastating loss to their opponents at the conference in the same seasons.
“I think you can pose this question to Oklahoma,” Saban said Wednesday of his team not playing a full game. “Because I’m sure their coach says some of the same things we said. Their players respond a little better because they have negative consequences.
“Our players – the worst thing you can do is play badly and win. We played badly in the second half. I don’t think anyone is immune to that. I told the players that, so I’m not talking about them behind their backs.”
Saban said in his opening statement Wednesday Coach performance by Kevin Elko He spoke to the team although he did not specify when.
You can always ask yourself, ‘What if?’ Said Saban. You ask yourself, “What if I played with discipline? What if the man took control? What if you played hard for 60 minutes? What if you maintain the intensity? These are all questions to ask yourself before something happens. Aight?
And then you can say, ‘Only if,’ and this is what you ask yourself after this happens. Only if I would do this. Only if you have prepared better. Only if you’ve played the 60 minutes. ‘ I think these are all lessons that we are trying to understand, which must pay the price for success up front. “
The slow-tidal second half caught the attention of Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt, who spoke about Alabama during a SEC coaches conference on Wednesday while discussing the defense of his next opponent, Missouri.
“I think they stopped the Alabama attack at 95 yards in the second half,” Pruitt said. “Maybe this is the lowest total, perhaps, for a half, under Nick Saban. I don’t know, I don’t know. That’s impressive.”
Alabama opened their schedule at home on Saturday against Texas A&M, who narrowly defeated Vanderbilt by narrow margin at Kyle Field last Saturday. Saban on Wednesday said the Aggies Better than last season They attributed their opening performance to “mistakes in the first match.”
As such, the angry Saban had a message to send to his players to close his press conference.
Saban said, “When we play a good team like Texas A&M, this is able, with the midfielder, to return to the match, 28-3 or whatever the result.” [at halftime] – The game is not over yet! Not when there are two quarters left to play! Aight?
“This is the thing that I was very disappointed in. So if you are so disappointed about it, this is the thing that we need to improve more than ever.”
Mike Rodak is an Alabama won reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter Embed a Tweet.