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Notebook: Penalties Add Up for Alabama

Nick Saban was not pleased with the mental miscues from his team on Saturday.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. —When looking at the final score from Alabama's 48-14 win over Mercer, you might think that Nick Saban would be pleased with that performance. And you would think wrong. 

While there were some positives that Saban highlighted like the play of Kool-Aid McKinstry, JoJo Earle and the defense, overall he was not happy at all with the penalties the Crimson Tide racked up on Saturday. 

"If you're frustrated with the penalties, I'm like ten times more frustrated," Saban said. 

The Alabama head coach said it's important for his team to play with intensity, but not out of control. He told a story about doing work for his dad and how everything had to be done just right, and if it wasn't, there would be a reckoning. Saban suggested his players may need a little of that.

"We had five penalties on special teams last week," Saban said. "I don’t know how many we had today, but it’s ridiculous, and we’ve got to get it fixed.”

Defensive lineman DJ Dale said this is something Saban has been trying to instill in the team all week. 

"Earlier in the week, he talked about us being disciplined, you know playing a 60 minute game," Dale said. "He wasn't like really upset. It was kind of like, 'I told you so.' This is exactly what he was talking about, and we just have to go out and execute."

Penalties

Alabama finished with nine penalties for 95 yards against Mercer. In 2020, Alabama only had nine or more penalties once and the highest total penalty yards in a game was 76 against Ole Miss.

A Rare Miss

With 2:23 in the third quarter, Alabama kicker Will Reichard missed a 34 yard field goal. It was his first miss since September 2019 versus South Carolina. Reichard was 98-98 on kicks in 2020, not missing a field goal or extra point. 

Injury Updates

  • Will Anderson Jr. left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. He will be further evaluated and his status is questionable moving forward according to Saban.
  • Defensive backs Josh Jobe and Jalyn Armour-Davis did not play against Mercer on Saturday, but Saban expects them back this week. Their injuries were minor and did not play because they did not get to practice this week in preparation for Mercer's unique offense per Saban.
  • Linebacker Henry To'oTo'o had his arm heavily wrapped after a slight injury against Miami, but it did not seem to hinder him on Saturday as he started the game and finished with six tackles.
  • Tight end Major Tennison and linebacker Shane Lee were seen on the sidelines in sweats during the game. Their status remains unclear at this time. 

Tide-bits:

Courtesy of Alabama Athletics

  • Alabama has won 55 of the last 57 games at its home stadium following the Crimson Tide’s 48-14 win over Mercer on Sept. 11 to open the 2021 home slate. Alabama boasts the best all-time home winning percentage in the FBS with an .834 (278-54-3) mark at Bryant-Denny Stadium since its opening in 1929.
  • Running back Jase McClellan recorded a single-game, career-best three touchdowns in the home opener against Mercer, scoring in different ways each time.
    • In the first quarter, the sophomore scored on a 33-yard blocked punt by linebacker Chris Braswell to record the first points in the game.
      • It marked Alabama’s 81st non-offensive touchdown of the Nick Saban era and the first since DeVonta Smith’s 84-yard punt return for a score at Arkansas on Dec. 12, 2020.
      • The last time Alabama returned a blocked punt for a touchdown was Oct. 12, 2019 when Tyrell Shavers scored on a two-yard scoop and score of Ale Kaho’s block against Texas A&M in College Station.
      • With the win over Mercer, Alabama extended its school record for consecutive games with a score to 270 thanks to McClellan’s non-offensive touchdown. Alabama has a 215-55 (.796) record over the course of the current streak.
    • In the second quarter, McClellan rushed five yards into the Mercer end zone, followed by a 21-yard touchdown catch from Bryce Young in the third quarter.
  • Alabama is the current FBS leader for scoring at least 30 points in consecutive games with 28 following the Tide’s 48-14 win over Mercer on Saturday, Sept. 11. The Tide’s 28-game streak is the second-longest in major college football history with only UCF having a longer run of 31 games from 2017-19.
  • Alabama's captains for Saturday’s home opener against Mercer were Metchie III, linebacker Will Anderson Jr. and Harris.