Nick Saban Says Alabama Improving Since Ole Miss Loss [VIDEO]
When Alabama lost to Ole Miss in mid-September, many pundits and fans were quick to write off the Crimson Tide.
Since then, though, it’s played arguably its best football of the season.
During his weekly Monday press conference, Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke about the progression the Crimson Tide has made as a team since that 43-37 loss -- the earliest defeat in a season during his tenure.
“I think our team is improving,” Saban said. “I don’t think that as a group of competitors anybody here is satisfied when they don’t have success. I don’t think that it’s something that, even though it’s human nature, that you don’t respond to things properly when they’re going well. Something bad has to happen for people to want to change and do things that they could have done way before something bad could have happened.
“And I’m not saying that’s the case with our team. I know we have a lot of competitors on our team that are not satisfied with that performance, and we have tried to get better. But my point of emphasis is, where are we now and what do we need to do to get better? And those are the things that I talked about here today, in terms of being able to focus and play with more consistency. Don’t want to create momentum for the other team by not staying focused in the game and doing what you need to do to play your best through 60 minutes of football.”
Since that loss, which occurred on Sept. 19 in Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC) has reeled off four straight wins, including two on the road against top-10 opponents – Georgia (Oct. 3) and most recently Texas A&M (Oct. 17).
In the immediate days after the Ole Miss loss, the Crimson Tide held a players-only meeting to help re-channel their focus for the remaining season ahead. Alabama dropped from No. 2 to No. 12 in both the coaches and AP polls due to the loss.
One change has been the tuning out of external factors and noise.
“We’re not worried about the outside stuff,” linebacker Reggie Ragland said. “We’re just worried about each other on the inside and just getting better each week. And ever since we’ve been doing that, the team has been getting a whole lot better. Everybody has been communicating better.”
Ragland said some of the “outside stuff” included players “worrying about accolades.”
Y”ou can’t worry about that, or us being ranked No. 1, No. 2, any of that stuff,” Ragland said. “We’re just worrying about ourselves, and we’re just trucking along now.”
Ragland, one of the team’s core leaders who has captained the team in four of seven games this season (along with center Ryan Kelly), was one of the primary players speaking up during the meeting, along with Jarran Reed, A’Shawn Robinson, Derrick Henry, Eddie Jackson, Cyrus Jones, among others, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said.
“When we do what we can do, we don’t feel like anybody can beat us,” said Allen, who noted that the meeting lasted around “30 minutes or so.”
Alabama, currently ranked No. 8 in both polls, hosts Tennessee (3-3, 1-2) this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on CBS. The Crimson Tide has won eight straight in the series.
Remember, you can also listen to Crimson Tide Sports Network’s coverage of Alabama-Tennessee this Saturday on Tide 99.1 FM and our sister station, 95.3 The Bear FM.
Watch player interviews from Monday: