Alabama are already a fifth of their regular season, having claimed their second victory with a 52-24 loss on Saturday to Texas A&M.
Here’s what Nick Saban told reporters on his video conference afterward:
– Saban said he was “very satisfied” with the effort and tenacity of his players against a classified opponent. He liked the way his team overcame Texas A&M “adversity” to tie the game at 14. “That’s really what we wanted to do, to keep playing in the game and playing for 60 minutes,” he said. “I thought we did.”
– Saban said there were mental errors on defense with lineouts and not adjusting properly to movement. He credited his defense, however, with making turnovers and making saves on the fourth down. He lamented that he did not come off the field on the third try.
– Texas A&M has been aggressive with its safeties entering the box, opening the big plays for the offense. Mac Jones “kept his cool” and didn’t come down after his interception.
– Saban called it a “big victory” but they will have “a lot of things to clean up”.
–Saban didn’t like the way safety Daniel Wright “approached and finished” his failed tackle on Ainias Smith’s 47-yard touchdown. There was also a mental error on this play that allowed Smith to be open. Saban added that Wright is a player who “really needs to stay focused on his job” and said he made a “big play” with his interception later.
– Saban said Alabama played the game “like we needed to play” defensively, but struggled in the third downs. The defense contained Kellen Mond, who ran 90 yards last year against Alabama. Saban also believed the defense had done a good job putting pressure on Mond as a passer.
– Saban thought Alabama struggled to cover tight end Jalen Wydermyer, whom he called one of the best at his position in the country. “If you talk to these people, they think he’s one of the best players in the country, and he certainly showed that today,” Saban said. “It wasn’t like we weren’t all over the guy. He’s just a big-bodied guy who can catch the ball. Saban believed Alabama had done a good job of providing man-to-man coverage against the Aggies’ other receivers.
–Saban said Texas runner Ainias Smith’s Ainias Smith 14-yard touchdown on Dylan Moses in the fourth quarter was a mental error in which Moses was “left dry” in a head-to-head cover. Alabama intended to pass Wydermyer on the play, but should have withdrawn from that call when Smith nodded to become a receiver.
– Saban reiterated that the defensive issues were mental. “It’s not physical,” he said. “It’s not like we can’t do it, we just don’t do it right. “
– Saban said Alabama will do “whatever we can” to eliminate the penalties. He was upset with three penalties in the second offensive practice of the third quarter as they tried to restore the pace of the game. These penalties were a hold on Alex Leatherwood, an illegal shift and a false start on Emil Ekiyor. “It’s very disappointing,” said the same. “This is something we need to fix. Especially the pre-snap penalties. There is no excuse for this. It is a total lack. of concentration. Alabama swept those penalties away with an 87-yard touchdown to Jaylen Waddle, but Saban said, “When you play really good teams you won’t always be able to do that.”
– Saban said the team’s strength is using their players in an attacking position. “I think we need to get more out of the running game than what we are doing now,” said Saban. “But when the teams play us to stop the race, we have to try to make big plays.” Saban added that Mac Jones is playing very well but that’s what they expect.
– Saban said Malachi Moore’s interception at the end of the game was “great for his confidence” and that Moore played much better than in the first game. Saban added that Moore is a player who “knows how to learn” and “understands the big picture quite well”.
– Asked about the effect the emergence of John Metchie will have on defenses to come, Saban said Alabama had always viewed Metchie as a threat and now had the opportunity. Saban noted that there was a reverse pass to Metchie that could have gone for another long gain. “We need as many weapons as possible,” Saban said.
Mike Rodak is an Alabama Beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on twitter @mikerodak.