Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide Having Tough Season With Special Teams’ Play

To say Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban is disappointed in his team’s play would be a vast understatement. Even though the Crimson Tide came out victorious on Saturday, beating the Arkansas Razorbacks 14-13, a mental error on a punt in the first half had Saban spitting mad and ranting at his team from the sidelines.

The plan was to allow Arkansas to down the punt, but an Alabama player must have forgotten Saban’s directive, and he got close enough to the football for it to bounce off his leg. The miscue allowed the Razorbacks to recover the punt deep in Alabama territory.

Special teams play is plaguing the Tide this season, as they are also having trouble keeping a handle on the ball when it is punted to them. Saban’s team fumbled away two punt returns in the first half on Saturday, and two other balls were fumbled during special teams’ plays, but Saban’s Crimson Tide were able to recover both of them.

Even though they won, the close game against an Southeastern Conference opponent who has lost 15 straight SEC matches didn’t advance Alabama in the college football rankings. Saban’s team held steady at number 7 when the Associated Press rankings were revealed earlier today.

After last week’s loss to Mississippi, Saban said he thought his team had recovered well in practice, but that didn’t seem to translate on game day. The Tide trailed the Razorbacks 13-7 going into the fourth quarter of the game before they managed to pull out the win.

Despite poor performances by special teams’ players, ABC News quoted Saban’s recognition of how tough it is to win on the road in the SEC.

“It’s tough on the road in this league, and our division is really, really difficult. There’s no easy games.”

Alabama’s loss to Ole Miss led many to criticize Nick Saban’s leadership of the team, including former Razorback quarterback A.J. McCarron. Even though McCarron has tried to backtrack from his comments, USA Today reported that in an radio interview with Tide 99.1-FM, the injured Cincinnati Bengals quarterback had said the Crimson Tide lacked leadership, and he wondered if Saban was handcuffing his offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.

Even singer Katy Perry took a shot at Saban after the loss to Ole Miss, which she had predicted during a pre-game interview. The Inquisitr showed the tweet Perry posted after the Alabama loss, which gloats over Saban’s look of misery.

Since Nick Saban started coaching Alabama in 2007, the team has never lost two games in a row, and the fourth quarter touchdown helped to keep that streak intact on Saturday.

[Image by USA Today]