Alabama Crimson Tide Football: Great Win, But Still Room to Improve

Tim CroleySenior Analyst ISeptember 2, 2008

It's only one game.

There are still eleven more to go.

It's a long season yet.

And one game will not make an entire season.

While these are all very true statements, Saturday night made this Alabama fan feel better about the Crimson Tide program than he has in a long time.

Is the Tide "back" as so many are proclaiming? I don't know to be honest.

Saturday's game against the number nine team in the nation looked great. But so did the Tennessee game last season before the Tide stumbled to a 7-6 finish. And so did the Florida game in 2005, with the Sports Illustrated cover declaring “Bama’s Back,” only to have their national title hopes shattered by LSU.

Fans are frivolous, and they have every right to be. After all, the best running back duo in the country was held to just 20 yards combined rushing.

According to Bruce Feldman of ESPN, “Alabama might've been the only team with a more impressive opener than USC.”

Bama was more impressive than the most dominate team this century? Yeah, I’d say the Tide nation has much to be proud of and reason to rejoice.

To offset the performance of Alabama, I have heard since Saturday night from many fans that are opposed to Bama, that Clemson was overrated. I hear people coming forth now stating that the Clemson backfield was not really that good.

Are you kidding me? Clemson’s backfield has been heralded as the best in the nation! In fact, some have even been caught speaking Heisman talk for the Tiger backfield.

It sure didn’t seem that way Saturday night verse a very fast, very physical Crimson Tide defense.

I’ll admit that I’m as excited as any Bama fan, but as I have been trying to preach for several weeks now, don’t let it get to your head. Remember where we were, where we are, and where we have to go to be back at the top again.

Six for six scoring in the red zone helps.

Holding Clemson's offense to a combined zero rushing yards helps.

Having young guys step in and play like seasoned veterans definitely helps as well.

So, there is much to look forward to. High times are on the horizon. But right now, don’t get greedy Tide fan. Take what you can get. Anything good for Alabama, like the beat down handed to Clemson Saturday night, is just a positive that we can take with us.

Now, we move on to the next game: Tulane.

But Tulane is a pushover.

After what Bama did to Clemson, they are going to mop the floor with the Green Wave.

Tulane is going to be shaking in their shoes.

Bama is going all the way!!!

While these may be all very true statements as well, nothing is a given. Just ask Louisiana Monroe.

Bama looked great Saturday night, as good as anyone else in the country. But that game is now over. It’s in the past.

Now the task at hand is staying level headed and preparing to finish the Tulane game the way the Clemson game was finished.

This team has the potential to be very good, maybe even great.

It can be a special season if Bama continues to press forward and work on the things that still have room for improvement. Just note the room for improvement from Saban’s Monday press conference:

“We are pleased and proud of the way our players competed in the game. They played hard and were physical. They controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and that was probably a real key to the outcome of the game. We won the turnover battle and had a few more explosive plays but the bottom line is there are a lot of things that we can do better and that should be the focus on what we look forward to do. We had some unforced errors on offense that we need to clean up on a discipline standpoint. We certainly could have finished some things a little bit better at times and that is something that we will focus on. Defensively when they did make plays we made some mental errors in terms of who we covered and making adjustments. Those are ongoing things we always want to try and eliminate totally. In another area that we need to do a lot of work in and improve on is special teams. We just didn’t do a good job in kickoff coverage. We had some young guys run down the field and we didn’t really cover the kicks the way we should have all night. We didn’t adjust and make the corrections that we needed to make. We made them sometimes but didn’t execute them the way we wanted to. That is certainly something we need to improve on. The number one special team for us (last year) was kickoff coverage. The challenge for this team is to improve, show we can play with consistency, and perform well week in and week out. The challenge is to play to our level of capabilities and make a mental, physical and emotional commitment to playing to our capabilities relative to what we do and how we do it. That is something we need to prove we can do. That consistency was not something that we have shown that we can do and certainly something we need to work on if we are going to try and be a team that plays with consistency in terms of the way we compete.

I applaud the performance of the Tide and remind all that good things are just ahead. Please be patient until those things come consistently. Roll Tide!

Also, I remind all others teams to watch out. Soon and very soon this Crimson squad will be your worst nightmare!


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