TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Last week the buzz was about how good Alabama looked in the season opener against Miami.
A week later Alabama looked like it was the first time the offense had set foot on the field together. At least for the first two possessions.
In the end Alabama won big Saturday against Mercer, as expected, in its home opener. But there were plenty of faults to point out following the 48-14 victory.
And Nick Saban was happy to deliver the critique.
“If it stinks, it stinks,” Saban said of the Crimson Tide’s horrible start of seven total yards with two penalties for 25 yards. “It smells bad for everybody.”
The offense got its act together on its third possession, capped by a Brian Robinson 4-yard touchdown run. There were plenty of other positives to point to from Saturday - Jase McClellan’s three touchdowns via three different ways, JoJo Earle’s career receiving day, Kool-Aid McKinstry’s first start at cornerback - but it’s the little things that came back to bite Alabama and brought about Saban’s ire.
Among them: dropped passes, poor blocks, missed assignments and penalties. Good grief the penalties – Alabama was flagged nine times for 95 yards.
It’s all about accountability, and if it doesn’t get worked out soon there will be a “reckoning” this week in Gainesville where Alabama faces the No. 13 Florida Gators. Kickoff for that game is 2:30 p.m. on CBS.
“Maybe we need more of this. When I was growing up, I worked for my dad, and every day at dinner he would (pound) the table and there was a reckoning for everything you were supposed to do that day,” Saban said. “If you didn’t do any of those things right you were going to do them again.
“We might need a little of that somewhere along the line.”
Alabama tackle Chris Owens was not immune to committing blunders Saturday. The senior offensive leader allowed a sack on that dreadful first possession.
“We just didn’t have enough juice on the first two offensive possessions,” Owens said. “When we play other teams down the line we have to start fast and not pick it up as the game goes on.”
Saban tried to deliver a warning to the team during the lead-up to the Mercer game. He ranted two or three times to the media about the Crimson Tide not having intensity in practice and not having the right mindset.
He was right on the money.
"He wasn’t really upset,” defensive lineman DJ Dale said of Saban after Saturday’s many miscues. “He was more like, ‘I told you so.’ This was exactly what he was talking about.”
Twice Alabama was penalized for holding on punt returns, and was pushed back 15 yards after an unsportsmanlike foul on the second drive of the game after converting for a first down.
Through two games Alabama has 17 penalties for 176 yards.
“One of (Saban’s) favorite things to tell us is, ‘it will get you when it gets you,'" Owens said. "It may not be today or it may not be tomorrow, but at some point down the line if we play like we are doing now, it’s going to get us. We shouldn’t have to have something bad in order for us to change our habits.”