Tulane struggle drives home Saban’s point

Published 8:03 pm Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nick Saban preached consistency all offseason to a team plagued by the lack of that trait in 2007. The message became especially relevant after an impressive opening week victory over then-top 10 team Clemson.

The Alabama players didn’t listen – or at least didn’t play like they did in an unimpressive 20-6 win over Tulane last week.

Western Kentucky at No. 11 Alabama – 6 p.m. on Sept. 13, PPV

“My first comment to the team on Monday was, ‘Do you believe me now?,’” Saban said at Wednesday’s Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference.

The No. 11 Crimson Tide (2-0) has one more chance to right the ship before it embarks on the year’s conference slate when Western Kentucky (1-1) visits Tuscaloosa at 6 p.m. Saturday for a game that will be televised on a pay-per-view basis.

The key for Alabama will likely be establishing the run early. ‘Bama did that against Clemson, the playaction passing game became effective and the Tide rolled to an easy win. With two starting offensive linemen injured, the Tide netted 0 rushing yards, including four sacks, in the first half against the Green Wave. Quarterback John Parker Wilson was ineffective, and Alabama managed only one offensive touchdown in the game.

Both of the linemen, tackle Andre Smith and guard Marlon Davis, have practiced this week, but Saban knows it will take more than that for his team to improve its performance.

“I think we need to improve across the board in terms of our consistency and enthusiasm about playing,” Saban said. “The attitude and enthusiasm this week has been much better.”