Nick Saban: No panic about Alabama Crimson Tide defense

By The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 19, 2017 at 8:40 PM
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama coach Nick Saban said he didn't like how the defense finished against Colorado State.

Despite last week's 41-23 win, linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton and other defenders said the defense would have a "come-to-Jesus" meeting after the Crimson Tide surrendered 391 yards to the Rams.

Top-ranked Alabama is 3-0, but the defense didn't play up to standard last Saturday.

Saban gave his thoughts on player-only meetings during his Monday news conference.

"I think it's really up to the players but I also think that every player has got to look at what they have to do to try to improve and get better," Saban said.

"I think everybody can contribute in a more positive way by just a little better execution. The effort was good in the game; the toughness was good in the game. And really for three quarters in the game we played pretty well against a pretty good offensive team. We just didn't finish the game like we needed to. I don't think anybody needs to be panicking."

Alabama linebacker Keith Holcombe wouldn't reveal any details surrounding the meeting, but noted that it was necessary for the players to come together.

"That's a team issue but there's some stuff that we need to talk about and let everybody know we're good, we're solid," Holcombe said.

"We're going to play our game but we understand there are things we messed up and we're going to sit down and make sure everybody understands we're a team together and we're going to play together and clean up and get ready for conference play."

The last known players-only meeting Alabama came after the 2015 loss to Ole Miss. That talk sparked the Crimson Tide's turnaround and run toward becoming national champion.

Alabama hopes to clean up some of its defensive issues this week before its trip to Nashville to face Vanderbilt on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

Saban said these types of meetings can be good if handled correctly.

"I think the leadership on the team is making an attempt to affect other players maybe to prepare a little better. Eliminate some of the mental errors," Saban said. "Play together as a unit. Communicate a little better. These are all things that the coaches will certainly emphasize to the players to try to help them play better. It's our responsibility to get that across.

"But we don't want these things to be like feel-good meetings where everybody feels good when they leave but they were concerned when they started. It could be good and bad depending on how it's handled."

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