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Why Nick Saban knows Alabama will respond better against Ole Miss?

Photo comes via SEC Media Portal

Alabama has its back against the wall as a football program early in a season for the first time since 2015.

The group with Jacob Coker, Derrick Henry, Calvin Ridley, a talented offensive line, monsters on defense, and an elite coaching staff under Nick Saban knew how to respond to adversity. Coach Saban saw the 2015 team take a loss to Mississippi on the chin, but it moved on to play for a Southeastern Conference Championship and a College Football Playoff National Championship.

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Saban has a different group of players and coaches; however, his belief in this team is firm. Alabama’s had subpar performances in back-to-back games so far. It is ranked outside the top 10 for the first time in the Saban era during the early part of a season.

The Tide suffered a 24-34 loss at home to Texas — the first double-digit loss at Bryant-Denny Stadium under Saban.

Many in the national media started clamoring, ‘Saban looks lost.’ They do not believe he has the same bite, fire, and passion to dominate the league as he once did. Others feel he cannot relate to today’s athletes in college football as he could when he was building the Alabama program back to national prominence. He hears the criticism, but Saban also knows the team goals for the Crimson Tide remain intact. Alabama can win the SEC West, an SEC Championship, and a CFP National Championship. 

In an interview with ESPN’s Chris Low, Saban explained why he knows his team will respond better against Ole Miss.

“We’ve got a better team than the way we played last week,” Saban said to Low. “I don’t know if we have a good enough team to beat Ole Miss or anybody else we play, but we’ve got a better team than we played last week. Texas has a damn good team, probably one of the best five teams in the country and we were ahead of them in the fourth quarter.”

The players on this Alabama team did a lot of talking in the summer, but they have received much criticism because the corresponding actions have not followed the talk. Saban stands by the attitude and energy of the group.

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“I like this team,” he said. “I like this group. They have worked hard. They’ve got a good attitude about things. We just got to execute better and pay better attention to detail, and we have got some areas on our team that need to play better.”

He has also heard criticism from some of his former players who won national championships under him. They were used to seeing Saban rule with an iron fist, but that is not the case anymore. Alabama recently had a players-only meeting, and fans are hoping something good came from it. The Tide has no room for error as it cannot afford a loss to Mississippi at home. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith. 

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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