TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban frequently says, "You don’t practice things until you get it right, you practice it until you can’t get it wrong."
And according to the Alabama players, the preparation wasn't right last week heading into the Texas A&M game which turned the loss into an eye-opener.
"I feel like it started with just preparation, we should've never been in that situation in the first place," said junior defensive linemen DJ Dale. "It started on Monday, carried over to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday just from a lack of preparation. But he [Saban] said it before it even happened that we were gonna get hit in the mouth if we prepared the way we were preparing."
And that's exactly what happened. Alabama got hit in the mouth and trailed for the first time all season. The Crimson Tide went into halftime of the Texas A&M game with a 14-point deficit.
Even though they fought their way back into the game in the second half, even reclaiming the lead in the fourth quarter, the Aggies won on a last-second field goal.
"We kind of knew that the way we played in that first half and even the rest of the game was just not to our standard," said wide receiver Slade Bolden. "And not to what we expected out of ourselves and as a team. So we tried to come together as best we can to improve on that and to finally meet our standard, which I still think we need to improve on."
According to Dale, it's all about a player's mindset when approaching practice and that's something that was lacking last week. They are working on it this week as they continue to prepare for Mississippi State.
"I feel like people’s mindset wasn’t there in the beginning of the week, and it showed on Saturday," Dale said. "I feel like you’ve gotta approach it with energy, as a day to get better and a way to get better.”
It's still early in the week of preparation, but Dale, Bolden and Emil Ekiyor Jr., all said the team has a better attitude towards practice this week when speaking to the media on Tuesday.
"Well today is pretty much the first day of preparation, real preparation for Mississippi State," Ekiyor said. "I think the attitude going into today’s practice is really good. Guys are being really positive about having good energy."