Saban Doesn’t Think Alabama Has Established Offensive Identity Yet [VIDEO]
Against Wisconsin, it had 502 total offensive yards.
Versus Middle Tennessee State, that number jumped to 532.
Most recently, when facing Ole Miss at home this past Saturday, Alabama made it over the 500-yard mark again, gaining 503 yards. When averaging those three figures together, the Crimson Tide ranks 23rd in the nation in total offense at 512.3 yards per game.
Yet, despite that average, the team’s own head coach Nick Saban still doesn’t think Alabama has established an offensive identity this season.
“I think we need to continue to develop that,” Saban said during his weekly Monday press conference. “I thought we had some identity in the first game and were moving in the right direction, and in the last two games we've been a little bit scattered. We need to have some certainty in what we're going to do.”
On Saturday, a 43-37 loss to the Rebels, the Crimson Tide split time between two quarterbacks, Jake Coker and Cooper Bateman, but the latter, Bateman, received the start after Coker had started the first two games.
Perhaps in part because Alabama fell into an early deficit, Bateman only played the team’s first four series before being replaced by Coker with 6:43 left in the half. Coker led the team on a touchdown-scoring drive on that opening possession under center, but had an inconsistent performance the rest of the way.
For the game, Bateman was 11 of 14 passing for 87 yards with an interception, while Coker completed 21-for-45 passes for 201 yards, three touchdowns and two picks. The three combined interceptions between the two quarterbacks were among the five total committed overall by the Crimson Tide. Ole Miss scored 24 points, or a field goal and three touchdowns off of those turnovers.
As a result, Alabama played from behind the entire game, factoring into how the Crimson Tide managed to set a school record of 59 pass attempts, breaking the previous high of 55 in a 49-26 loss to Auburn in 1969.
Derrick Henry proved effective for much of the night, averaging 5.5 yards per carry on 23 rushes for 127 yards and one touchdown, but the Tide had to move away from him in the fourth quarter after falling behind 43-24 with 10:02 left.
Alabama has this week, a home game against Louisiana-Monroe, to sort out its offensive issues before its next big challenge, a road game at Georgia on Oct. 3.
"I think it's something we are still trying to figure out," offensive lineman Cam Robinson said. "That's something we don't know yet. That's something we are in the process of trying to figure out right now."
Saban, who was pleased with Coker's passion, energy and leadership against Ole Miss, tentatively named him the starting quarterback this week.
"At this point, providing he does the things he has to do, I think we'll start him in this game," he said.
Watch player interviews from Monday below: