Nick Saban emphasizes the need for Alabama to focus on specific issue that hurt the team during last season's losses
For weeks now, we’ve heard Nick Saban and his Alabama players discuss the level of motivation in Tuscaloosa following last season’s disappointing 11-2 season.
While it may seem incredible for a football program to be disappointed with an 11-win season, that just goes to show the level of excellence that’s expected each season in Tuscaloosa under Saban’s leadership.
So what is being done to correct the issue with last year’s team?
Instead of just talking about their disappointment, the Alabama coaching staff is attacking one of the key issues that affected the team last season — situational awareness and finishing games (and the halves of games) out.
“One of the things we are really trying to focus on now is situational football. Creating a lot more situational awareness of things that we do,” Saban said during his most recent press conference. “We did sort of a simulation – it wasn’t a scrimmage, it was just a regular practice but it was a simulated game on Saturday in the stadium so that players would get used to substitutions and situations in the game.
“Signaling, communicating without the coaches being out there. We are going to continue to do that. Obviously, we are going to have a second scrimmage this weekend and we are going to emphasize even more situations.”
Clearly, last season’s losses to LSU and Auburn still weigh heavy on Saban, who noted that the end of each first half from those contests went against the Crimson Tide in a big way.
“Today, we had two-minute before the half. Two-minute before the half was a bad thing,” Saban continued. “LSU scored 14 points in the last two minutes of the first half and Auburn scored 10 (last season). Those are the kind of things the players have to really understand. Not only are we trying to score in that situation, we can’t give the other team the ball back so they can get a chance to score.”
Correct those issues and Alabama is likely to return to Atlanta for the upcoming SEC Championship Game and possibly make yet another College Football Playoff appearance.