No. 1 Alabama sees room for improvement - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

No. 1 Alabama sees room for improvement

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Top-ranked Alabama's latest blowout win included enough mistakes to concern coach Nick Saban and his players.

The Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) steamrolled Kentucky 48-7 on Saturday night, but only after an error-prone start featuring turnovers and dropped passes for the two-time defending champions.

What gnawed at defensive players more than allowing their first touchdown in four games was letting the Wildcats drive 75 yards for the score. Even though the Crimson Tide had a commanding 31-0 lead in the middle of the third quarter, Alabama players were disappointed in their efforts.

They say the breakdowns in an otherwise stellar performance are examples of where improvement is needed. There will be a quality control review of the mistakes this week by Alabama, focusing on improving execution before beginning a three-game homestand against Arkansas on Saturday.

"We made a lot of plays; we made a lot of explosive plays," Saban said after the Crimson Tide outgained Kentucky 668-170. "Everybody has to be accountable to do their role so we can be the best team we can be. I think we're a better team now than we were (before the game).

"We're making improvements, but I still think there are things we need to continue to work on."

The coach was pleased to see his team close strong by scoring on its last eight possessions and make program history by having a 300-yard passer and two 100-yard rushers in the same game.

Running backs T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake ran for 124 and 106 yards, respectively, and two touchdowns each. Senior quarterback AJ McCarron completed 21 of 35 passes for a career-high 359 yards and a 20-yard TD to Kevin Norwood.

Those performances followed first-quarter mistakes resulting in the Crimson Tide's first scoreless period this season.

Drake and Yeldon each fumbled on consecutive possessions deep in Kentucky territory, the latter proving especially costly as he coughed up the ball inside the 5. A wide open Kenny Bell dropped McCarron's pass across the middle, the first of a handful of flubs by Alabama receivers.

"That was definitely something we weren't expecting, but it happened and we've got to live with it," said Norwood, who set up the Crimson Tide's first touchdown by a catching a 42-yard pass down the middle in double coverage.

"At the same time we've got to do better with it, especially the ball handling and receivers catching the ball."

Though Alabama quickly regrouped with a 24-point second quarter, Saban still let players have it about the turnovers at halftime. His message got through: tailbacks held on to the ball and put the game out of reach en route to 299 yards rushing.

"I thought both guys ran well," Saban said of Yeldon and Drake. "We haven't had a lot of turnovers this year and we haven't fumbled the ball a lot. That's something we really don't ever need to have happen and I think if our guys want to be the best, those are the kind of things they have to eliminate."

At first glance, Alabama's defensive showing should have given the SEC's second-ranked unit something to gloat about in posting four sacks and allowing Kentucky to convert just 2-of-12 third down chances. Instead, players say they are more motivated after giving up their first TD in four games.

Facing Kentucky backup quarterback Maxwell Smith after Jalen Whitlow exited with a left ankle injury, Alabama allowed the Wildcats to mount a nine-play, 75-yard drive ending with Smith's 30-yard TD pass to Javess Blue. The sequence didn't set well with a defense that had shut out then-No. 21 Ole Miss two games ago and entered having allowed just three field goals in as many games.

To be sure, Alabama isn't going to agonize about those mistakes when it dominated others area. But the breakdowns are reminders that the Crimson Tide have flaws to be corrected with an upcoming schedule featuring Arkansas, Tennessee and No. 6 LSU.

"At the end of the day, we want to make all our goals and really wanted to shut out this game," linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "The reason we didn't was because we didn't execute the right way, so some of those plays we've got to make sure we work on."

  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • TechBits: portable power (04.23.14)

    TechBits: portable power (04.23.14)

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:41 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:41:00 GMT
    There are many options for getting extra power to your portable devices- and they go beyond just batteries..The EnerPlex Surfr series phone cases have solar panels built in. They generate power from the sun, and store it in an internal battery you use to power up your phone. They make the phone a little big and bulky- but they can be invaluable to hikers or campers.Dane-Elec provides power and data with the Mobile Junkie Media Streamer. The unit has a built-in battery beefy enough to complete...More >>
    There are many options for getting extra power to your portable devices- and they go beyond just batteries..The EnerPlex Surfr series phone cases have solar panels built in. They generate power from the sun, and store it in an internal battery you use to power up your phone. They make the phone a little big and bulky- but they can be invaluable to hikers or campers.Dane-Elec provides power and data with the Mobile Junkie Media Streamer. The unit has a built-in battery beefy enough to complete...More >>
  • Birmingham Mayor issues takeover agreement amid lawsuit over precinct construction

    Birmingham Mayor issues takeover agreement amid lawsuit over precinct construction

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:32 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:32:26 GMT
    Birmingham Mayor William Bell addressed police officers Wednesday at the city's West Precinct following years of delay to construction of a new site.ABC 33/40 has learned some people say parts of the building is in dire need of upgrades. A few years ago, the city approved a plan for new construction. Since then, it has been delayed. A contractor for the project, Chris Woods, has also filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming city leaders stalled progress.Bell did not speak directly to that l...More >>
    Birmingham Mayor William Bell addressed police officers Wednesday at the city's West Precinct following years of delay to construction of a new site.ABC 33/40 has learned some people say parts of the building is in dire need of upgrades. A few years ago, the city approved a plan for new construction. Since then, it has been delayed. A contractor for the project, Chris Woods, has also filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming city leaders stalled progress.Bell did not speak directly to that l...More >>
  • Burned body found in Fairfield identified as 22-year-old Pinson woman

    Burned body found in Fairfield identified as 22-year-old Pinson woman

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:52 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:52:02 GMT
     The body of 22-year-old Megan Elizabeth Monroe, of Pinson, was found outside this home in Fairfield, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (abc3340.com) The body of 22-year-old Megan Elizabeth Monroe, of Pinson, was found outside this home in Fairfield, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (abc3340.com)
    Police have identified the burned body found last weekend behind a vacant home in Fairfield as a 22-year-old Pinson woman.More >>
    Police have identified the burned body found last weekend behind a vacant home in Fairfield as a 22-year-old Pinson woman.More >>
  • U.S. Space and Rocket Center: Make donation, take aerial tour of Huntsville with NASA Astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson

    U.S. Space and Rocket Center: Make donation, take aerial tour of Huntsville with NASA Astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:52 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:52:00 GMT
    The U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation in Huntsville, Alabama is asking for your help to raise $70,000 to begin installation of a Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's Shuttle Park.The U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation in Huntsville, Alabama is asking for your help to raise $70,000 to begin installation of a Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's Shuttle Park.
    For a generous donation, one can take flight with a veteran NASA astronaut in a shuttle training aircraft and get a birds-eye view of Huntsville, including a rare view of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center campus, organizers announced Wednesday.More >>
    For a generous donation, one can take flight with a veteran NASA astronaut in a shuttle training aircraft and get a birds-eye view of Huntsville, including a rare view of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center campus, organizers announced Wednesday.More >>
  • NWS Birmingham to replace tower by May 3

    NWS Birmingham to replace tower by May 3

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:45 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:45:18 GMT
    The National Weather Service Birmingham office is offering weather-related alternatives after a recent transmitter outage. The service's tower, which sits atop Red Mountain, failed over the weekend. NWSMore >>
    UpdateMore >>
  • Amber Alert issued for 2-year-old girl from Mississippi

    Amber Alert issued for 2-year-old girl from Mississippi

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:16 PM EDT2014-04-24 00:16:07 GMT
    THE MISSISSIPPI HIGHWAY PATROL HAS ISSUED AN AMBER ALERT FOR 2-YEAR-OLD MALIAH HARRIS, WHO WAS ABDUCTED THIS MORNING FROM CALEDONIA, MISSISSIPPI.More >>
    The Mississippi Highway Patrol has issued an amber alert for 2-year-old Maliah Harris, who was allegedly abducted Wednesday morning from Caledonia, Mississippi. More >>
  • Man charged with murder in nursing home deaths

    Man charged with murder in nursing home deaths

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-04-23 23:24:31 GMT
    A Houston nursing home resident accused of using the armrest of his wheelchair to beat two of his roommates to death is facing a capital murder charge, police said Wednesday.More >>
    A Houston nursing home resident accused of using the armrest of his wheelchair to beat two of his roommates to death is facing a capital murder charge, police said Wednesday.More >>
  • Alabama schools Superintendent Tommy Bice discusses meeting with Hoover school leaders over bus fees

    Alabama schools Superintendent Tommy Bice discusses meeting with Hoover school leaders over bus fees

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:35 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:35:04 GMT
    Alabama schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy BIce said he had a "productive meeting" with Hoover City School Superintendent Andy Craig (pictured) on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (abc3340.com)Alabama schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy BIce said he had a "productive meeting" with Hoover City School Superintendent Andy Craig (pictured) on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (abc3340.com)
    Alabama schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice met with Hoover City School leaders Wednesday, and he released a statement afterwards clarifying his position on the school system following its recent approval of school bus fees.More >>
    Alabama schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice met with Hoover City School leaders Wednesday, and he released a statement afterwards clarifying his position on the school system following its recent approval of school bus fees.More >>