Alabama Football: Cause for Concern?

By Allen Faul

Nick Saban has voiced his concern regarding his team’s focus for two consecutive days, on two different mediums raising the question if there is really cause for concern for Alabama Football.

Saban began with his now infamous opening statement at Wednesday’s press conference, an outburst that has since been played repeatedly on the airwaves while writers from across the country have given their commentary.  Thursday, Saban was at it again, sharing the same sentiment during his statewide coaches show broadcast; again questioning his team’s mindset heading into Saturday’s matinee with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

It wasn’t the first time Saban delivered a message through the media. Using the airwaves and print reporters to send a message to his team or fans has almost become one of his trademarks.

After the 2008 beat down of the Clemson Tigers he emphasized the 34-10 victory was just one game. “Our players need to have a focus to improve and remember how they got where they got; rather than just show up and think we can beat whoever we play because we have a tendency to think that way around here.”

Later in the year he used his radio show to rally the fans for a Saturday night affair with a struggling Mississippi State team. “Our stadium ought to be what it ought to be” Saban proclaimed. Two days later fans responded, showing up in force over an hour before kickoff.

When Nick Saban speaks people listen.

However if people dismissed Saban’s comments Wednesday, he may have gotten their attention on the Crimson Tide’s statewide coaches show. The Alabama coach picked up right where he left off mentioning that the mindset he’s noticed is comparable to when his LSU team lost to UAB and the infamous loss Alabama suffered at the hand of UL-Monroe in 2007.

If Saban didn’t have people’s attention before, a mention of UL-Monroe is sure to do the trick.

Perhaps he is trying to tell us something about this team.  While many were quick to praise the Crimson Tide (and deservedly so) for beating the Michigan Wolverines in week one, Saban saw the flaws. He saw the way his secondary got beat on two long pass plays that led to 14 points for Michigan. He saw his team commit far more penalties than he is accustomed to seeing. He also saw his team take their foot of the gas pedal in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

He saw all of those things and probably a million other details the Tide need to refine. While a performance may be good enough to win one week, in college football it might not be good enough the following week.

I will admit, it is hard to believe that given the talent the Tide posses that they won’t beat Western Kentucky.  While that may be true, it was probably hard to believe that a team of amateurs could defeat a team of professional Soviet hockey players at the 1980 Winter Olympics too.  Sometimes the improbable happens.  As the old saying around football locker rooms goes “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Saban has built something special in Tuscaloosa, and he’ll do everything he can to protect it. Even if it means sending a message every now and then.

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