Alabama's Saban not giving out all "A's" at midterm (news confer - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Alabama's Saban not giving out all "A's" at midterm (news conference video)

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Nick Saban discussing Alabama's win over Kentucky and the team's upcoming game against Arkansas, Monday, October 14, 2013. (abc3340.com) Nick Saban discussing Alabama's win over Kentucky and the team's upcoming game against Arkansas, Monday, October 14, 2013. (abc3340.com)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban isn't about to dole out straight A's on the top-ranked Crimson Tide's midterm report card.

He'd prefer his progress report through half the regular season to go beyond what 'Bama has done well.

"It'd be easier to answer that question if you said, 'Is there anything you don't need to improve on?'" Saban said Monday. "I think there's a lot of things that we need to improve on."

Keep the hankie in your pocket. The Tide (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) hasn't even been challenged the past four weeks, piling up big numbers and easy wins even as potential national challengers like Stanford and Georgia have fallen.

Those defeats aren't hot topics around the football building leading up to Saturday's game against struggling Arkansas (3-4, 0-3).

"Yeah, we see other teams fall down and we just want to make sure we go out there and do our job," offered guard Anthony Steen.

Fumbles. Dropped passes. The big play or two allowed by the defense in a 48-7 win over Kentucky.

Those issues are more likely to come up.

"I don't think that we've played our best game by any stretch of the imagination," Saban said. "I think there's a lot of things that we can improve on. Obviously we haven't gotten a lot of turnovers on defense. I think there's times when we've given up too many big plays on defense."

The Tide is in the midst of a six-game stretch without playing a team with a winning record. Alabama has won the first four by an average of 33 points and outgained those opponents by 272 yards per game while allowing just 46 first downs.

That's the good. Even the bad from the latest mismatch come with caveats.

The Tide lost two early fumbles against the Wildcats, though culprits T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake each topped 100 rushing yards.

Alabama also had several dropped passes, even if it didn't keep AJ McCarron from finishing with a career-high 359 passing yards. A secondary relying heavily on freshmen and sophomores allowed a 30-yard touchdown pass, ending a streak of 14 quarters without allowing an opponent to reach the end zone.

So what if the Wildcats managed only 46 passing yards the rest of the game.

Those are small things in a 41-point win, but plenty for Saban to harp on.

"Coach is always telling us, don't look at the scoreboard," receiver Kevin Norwood said. "Worry about playing our best game. And that's what we want to do — play our best game. It just so happened that we always have something to work on. It's always a work in progress."

An avid golfer who often references Tiger Woods, Saban said the game did prove that if players keep competing and focusing, "sometimes you can miss the four-foot putt and still win."

He also said he doesn't want his players even paying attention to two notable Arkansas scores. The Razorbacks are coming off a 52-7 loss to No. 11 South Carolina.

Alabama won the last meeting 52-0, numbers that could raise the risk of overlooking Arkansas.

McCarron insists that's not a concern.

"I can't tell you the score of the Kentucky game," he said. "I can't remember how high we're supposed to count in the locker room, the points we scored, for our fight song. I definitely don't remember scores from all the games. It's never about them. It's never about the opponent we're facing.

"Coach Saban likes to say they are faceless, and they are. It's about us and about what we do and how we take everything on the field. It doesn't matter who we play. We're trying to play the way we're capable of playing."

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