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Alabama Football Looks to Improve Discipline, Reduce Penalties

Through its first three games of the season, the Crimson Tide has committed 28 penalties for a total of 251 yards.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Among the issues that Alabama football faced in its close 31-29 victory over Florida last Saturday, one concern that reared its ugly head arguably the highest was the Crimson Tide's difficulties with penalties.

Against the Gators, the Crimson Tide committed 11 penalties for 75 yards. However, penalties weren't just an issue for Alabama in The Swamp. In the team's season opener against Miami in Atlanta, the Crimson Tide committed eight penalties for 81 yards. Against Mercer in Bryant-Denny Stadium, it was nine penalties for 95 yards.

Penalties have quickly become a problem for Alabama, but they didn't have a heavy impact on the team's first two games. However, the Crimson Tide's trip to visit the Gators showed just how much the problem could impact a game should the program's struggle with penalties continue down this path.

On Tuesday afternoon, multiple Alabama players addressed the issue with penalties. For tight end Cameron Latu, who was recruited as a defensive end before switching over to the offensive side of the football in Tuscaloosa, discipline is the key to committing fewer penalties on the field.

“To clean up penalties, I’d say just be more disciplined, I guess," Latu said to the media on Tuesday. "Things happen during the game that are unexpected, but I guess the noise was a little — it was very loud at that stadium, so it was hard to hear. We had to battle through snap cadences and stuff like that, so it was unusual.

"We just came off a 2020 season playing with no crowds, so first hostile environment that we’ve been in, so we had to just adjust to it and be more disciplined.”

While noise certainly played a factor at Florida, that doesn't really address why Alabama was having so many issues in its first two games. Discipline is certainly a factor, but how does one improve in that regard?

One way to correct the issue is through practice. Through repetition and experience, players can correct their errors and improve. It takes time to gain the experience, but at the end of the day it's the only surefire way to solve the problem that Alabama currently faces.

Crimson Tide defensive back DeMarcco Hellams commented on how he and his teammates can reduce the number of pass interference calls on their unit over the course of a game.

"It’s just all about playing the ball better in the deep part of the field," Hellams said. "Practicing on it. Practicing on it, that’s how we improve. Other than that, there’s nothing much I can say. It’s just an aggressive penalty. We like to play the ball. It just comes with the game sometimes."