TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Nick Saban was irate on the sideline.
In the third quarter of Alabama’s 49-30 win over Arkansas on Saturday, outside linebacker Rashaan Evans sacked quarterback Austin Allen for a loss of 10 yards on a second-down play.
But Evans was flagged for 15 yards after the hit on Allen. The officials flagged Evans for a personal foul and what they viewed as “roughing the passer, hit below the waist.”
Saban wasn’t pleased with the ruling and immediately let the officials know. Saban lit into each official near him as he walked the sidelines after the play.
The coach was a little more calm during his Monday news conference when explaining his frustration.
“I think player safety is really important and I don’t think the guys would want them to do it on our quarterback. We certainly don’t coach our guys to do it to the opposing team’s quarterback — when you just have a free shot at the quarterback and you hit them low, in the knee area,” Saban said of low hits. “But when a guy’s being blocked, pushed in the back or scrambling toward the quarterback, it’s supposed to be a judgment call as to whether the guy went low on the guy intentionally, had an opportunity to stay up, or didn’t have an opportunity to stay up.
“I’m not criticizing the officials. I just thought that the guy beat the guy around the edge and lowered his shoulder and was getting pushed and was off balance and it wasn’t an intentional thing. But that’s a judgment call and we’re certainly going to have to live with that call.”
Evans easily beat Arkansas offensive lineman Dan Skipper around the edge. As he dipped his shoulder to speed by, Evans was shoved as he closed in on Allen. The push from Skipper caused Evans to stumble and go lower than he likely intended.
Evans saw increased playing time in the second half when starter Reuben Foster left the game with a concussion. Evans finished with 7 tackles, a half sack and 2 quarterback hurries.
“It’s just like the manager that goes out in baseball,” Saban said. “Did you ever see a manager come out in baseball and argue the call and the umpire changed the call? No. You’re trying to get it right the next time. You’re just trying to make sure they get it right the next time. That’s kind of how it is.”