TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — These are the tough weeks for Alabama.
Coming off a thrilling win over Ole Miss, Alabama players must refocus and avoid any type of letdown on Saturday when it hosts Kent State. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on the SEC Network.
It’s human nature to let off the gas against lesser opponents, but Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn’t want that to happen.
Saban doesn’t want top-ranked Alabama to fall victim to some of the pitfalls that trap other ranked teams in these types of games.
“The Mid-American Conference is sort of known for being able to come up against really good teams and come up with some wins,” Saban said. “Obviously, North Dakota State beating Iowa, which is a ranked team, this happens every week and it happens because the teams that they are playing don’t have the proper respect. They don’t prepare correctly. They don’t play very well and the other team has players too that are very capable. They need to be respected, and we need to focus on what we need to do to get better as a team and play to our standard, and that certainly is going to be the message for this week.”
Following Alabama’s win over Western Kentucky in Week 2, Saban was critical of the effort of both the players and the coaching staff. Saban went as far to say that he was embarrassed at how the team played.
Alabama’s leadership group is being more vocal this week in hopes of keeping everyone locked in and focused as to not disappoint Saban and the fans.
“There are no down shifts,” said Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson. “We’re going to practice this week like we’re preparing for the National Championship. That’s the only way we’re going to get better as a team. You can’t down shift and then pick it back up. You just can’t do it.”
This is a special week for Saban. attended Kent State and played defensive back for the football team. It’s also where he got his coaching start.
All these years later, Kent State still holds a special place in Saban’s heart.
“I got a degree from there, and have a lot of mentors that really influenced my life at a time when you’re growing up, you’re 18-22 years old and especially from a football standpoint and a personal standpoint,” Saban said. “Don James was really a tremendous impact on me as a person as well as my future because that’s who I played for and he actually talked me into being a coach and asked me to be a GA when I didn’t really want to be and didn’t really want to even go to graduate school.
“There’s a lot of things that impacted my life in a very positive way because of the people and the relationships that were developed there.”