The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Arkansas Edition
Every Monday, Nick Saban spends part of the afternoon showing his players the good plays, bad plays and ugly plays from the previous Saturday.
The good section highlights what the team did well in the game; individual plays, series of plays, moments of the game that went good for the Crimson Tide.
The bad section focuses on plays that were run incorrectly, maybe a play designed to pick up more yardage but failed. It might include simple mistakes, a turnover or just a simple missed block or tackle.
The ugly section could also be called the disaster section, plays that went completely wrong or injuries. Ugly plays are learning moments for the team. Part of discussing the bad and ugly plays includes thinking through what they could have done differently.
Alabama vs. Arkansas
Alabama won the game, repeat Alabama won the game; but as I walk outed of Bryant-Denny Stadium, it did not feel like a win or even a building block for the future. Saban said after that there is a difference between winning the game and beating the other team. I think we all know what Saban was referencing.
Saban was asked about Reichard and the place kicker drew some high praise from his coach during the post-game press conference. Saban used the opportunity to describe Reichard as one of the best players at his position who has played for Saban at Alabama. I will add to that as I did a few weeks ago, Reichard will go down as the best place kicker to ever wear a Crimson jersey and now he has the SEC record to provide validity to the statement.
The Crimson Tide also had success rushing the football, totaling 177 yards on the ground which carried the offense through some droughts. Saban also picked up his 200th win which provides another opportunity to look back at what he has been able to accomplish at the Capstone. Seasons prior to Saban’s arrival should make me appreciate the wins, even the ugly ones. However, Saban has also taught us to expect a higher standard over the last 17 years.
The Tide's head coach opened the post-game press conference with an explanation of finishing, describing the difference between winning and beating the other team. Seven games into the season, I have come to accept that these sloppy performances are part of the identity of this team.
Alabama came into this game ranked as the worst team in the SEC in sacks allowed - only three other teams in college football have given up more sacks than the Crimson Tide. Saturday did nothing to improve on that average. If Alabama is going to make a push this postseason, they have to make adjustments that emphasizes protecting Jalen Milroe.
Have you ever seen a false start during a victory formation? The first time I can remember ever seeing was during the final play of the game on Saturday afternoon. Alabama was only penalized five times vs. Arkansas which is a slight improvement on their season average. Maybe they are taking some steps in the right direction in this department.
This section could be a small book, but let’s highlight the biggest ugly, which was the passing offense in the second half. The Tide had four passing yards in the third quarter and only 19 yards in the final quarter. Milroe connected on three passes during the entire second half, some of these were receiver drops but some of these were uncatchable passes. Milroe finished the day connecting on 10 of 21 passes. He did connect on several deep throws which makes up for his lack of consistency in the passing game. Maybe this team was looking ahead to a revenge game against Tennessee next week. Either way, many of these plays will make up the ugly during the video session on Monday afternoon.
Coming up Monday on The Game with Ryan Fowler on Tide 100.9 |1230 AM WTBC, we will discuss the good, bad and ugly. Listeners will also have a chance to win prizes from Daniel Moore Art, starting at 2 p.m. on Tide 100.9 |1230 AM WTBC and on the free Tide 100.9 app. We will have plenty to discuss on Monday afternoon.
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Gallery Credit: Meg Summers