BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is a commentary blog from WBRC FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
OK , it wasn't quite the beat down like last week in Dallas, and Alabama coach Nick Saban knows it. A fiery head coach insisted that Saturday came one of the sloppiest wins in his Bama tenure, saying, "If we don't start doing things the right way, we will not have success."
With that, there were still some nice performances in this game to go along with the many poor performances that Saban noted.
So here we go: my studs and duds after the 38-10 Crimson Tide win over Western Kentucky!
Stud: Receiver Calvin Ridley
After being silent a week ago, Ridley broke out on Saturday as he caught nine passes for 129 yards and scored a TD. Lane Kiffin is no dummy; he knows that he wants the ball in his play maker's hands and one of the first places he looks is to No. 3. Bama fans are thanking their lucky stars that the kid will be around next season before turning pro.
Duds: The offensive line
Granted, there are new faces in new places, but the linemen failed to create solid running lanes for backs such as Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. Self-inflicted penalties were many as the team ran for just 13 first half yards. Let me repeat that. An Alabama football team ran for 13 yards...against Western Kentucky. The team ended the game rushing for 124 yards for an average yard per carry of 3.2.
Stud: Quarterback Jalen Hurts
Many of his throws came late, and Jalen knows that he needs to speed up the process, but Hurts still went 23-36 for 287 yards, 2 touchdowns and no picks. Asked after the game if Hurts will be his starting quarterback from here on out, Saban responded, "I'm not thinking about that right now, but I know that whoever does start needs to be better."
Duds: Any player who committed a useless penalty
A total of 12 penalties were called on the Crimson Tide on Saturday, as Saban called most of them self-inflicted. Clearly upset in post-game, the coach insisted that if the players don't clean up their act it could be a long game next weekend in Oxford.
Studs: The defensive backs
Man are there some athletes back there, starting with defensive leader Eddie Jackson. The big guy had four tackles, three of them solo, and a huge pick-six. Bama has now scored a non-offensive touchdown in the last four games. Ronnie Harrison, Marlon Humphrey and friends love to hit, and as a college football junkie I can tell you they are fun to watch.
Stud: Receiver ArDarius Stewart
The pride of Fultondale plays hard and continues to impress. "Mustang" had five catches for 90 yards and a score on Saturday and looked good doing it. Thirteen is not an unlucky number on this team.
Studs: Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster
The Bama defensive end and the Bama linebacker were all over the field on Saturday. When Allen and the guys get going up front and Foster follows, that defense leaves a mark.
So there you have it: Bama outgained WKU 475-239 and won the game 38-10, yet all is not perfect in Saban Land. The mood of the coach could be summed up best when he was asked after the game about arguing with offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin on the sideline late in the contest. Said Saban, "There were no arguments, that's called an ass-chewing." Classic Saban, as the coach now rights the ship and heads into Ole Miss next weekend. And you? What do you think?