TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Two days after the Crimson Tide lost 43-37 to Ole Miss at home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban opened his Monday news conference with some positive takeaways from the defeat.
"I was really pleased with the effort that our players gave in this last game, they really played hard, they showed a lot of resiliency to keep coming back, give themselves an opportunity to even with 2:50 to go in the game, have a chance to have possession of the ball to win the game," Saban said.
"But just too many self-inflicted wounds to overcome, regardless of what the effort, what the resiliency was," the coach continued.
"It would be easy to sit here and say the turnovers were the issue, but we need to have better fundamental execution of what we're doing. Too many negative plays on offense, too many big plays on defense. Too many missed cues on special teams as far as who's blocking who."
"I think our players had tremendous energy in this game, but we have to learn to channel our energy and focus into the right places so that we get better execution on a more consistent basis. That starts with me, it starts with us as coaches in terms of doing a better job through the course of the week in preparing guys to be able to go out there and execute better," Saban said.
When asked if he thinks how Jake Coker played in the second half, with more passion and energy, will carry over to the next game, Saban's response drew chuckles from the media.
"Well I can't predict any of that stuff, I don't have a crystal ball up here, I can try to look in this Coke bottle and see but I don't really know," he said as he picked up the plastic Coca-Cola bottle that typically adorns his press conference podium.
"It still goes back to execution. We can't throw interceptions, we can't throw the ball the wrong place. So we gotta execute and do what we need to do to have the whole offense function, that's something we need to keep working on," Saban added.
In his 15-minute news conference, the head coach confirmed Robert Foster's injury will require shoulder surgery. He said in Foster's absence, different guys will get playing time, mentioning that Calvin Ridley looks good and Richard Mullaney has been strong.
Saban confirmed they will start Coker as quarterback in this week's home game against Louisiana-Monroe. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.