Crimson Tide focused on improvement

Published 2:40 pm Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No. 2 Alabama’s last impressive road victory was followed by a pair of too close wins over underdogs Kentucky (17-14) and Ole Miss (24-20).

After a 29-9 decision over rival Tennessee last week, the Crimson Tide hopes to avoid a similar struggle against Sun Belt Conference opponent Arkansas State at 2 p.m. Saturday in a homecoming game that will be available only on a pay-per-view basis.

Arkansas State at No. 2 Alabama – 2 p.m. on Nov. 1, PPV

‘Bama coach Nick Saban spent some of his time on Wednesday’s teleconference for Southeastern Conference coaches talking about the importance of his players avoiding complacency.

“There’s always a concern about that,” said Saban, who leads an 8-0 team that has a two-game lead over LSU in the SEC’s Western Division.

Saban, using Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods as examples of the approach the team needs to adopt, said the Tide’s challenge is to continue to compete and to improve no matter the opponent.

“It’s not normal and it’s difficult, but that’s what you should do,” he said.

But it’s not like the Tide is playing Arkansas State High School. The Red Wolves (4-3, 2-1 conference) rank first in the Sun Belt in total defense and points allowed and third in total offense and points scored.

Saban called Arkansas State quarterback Corey Leonard “probably the best dual threat we’ve seen.” Leonard is the Wolves’ third leading rusher with 486 yards this season and has thrown for 1,474 yards, 11 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

“When you have a good quarterback in college football, you can do a lot of things,” Saban said.