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Tide head coach Nick Saban, right, with quarterback JohnParker Wilson, gave his team a thorough review following Saturday’s 52-6 win over Western Carolina.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Tide head coach Nick Saban, right, with quarterback JohnParker Wilson, gave his team a thorough review following Saturday’s 52-6 win over Western Carolina.

After win by blowout, Saban still cracks down

By Josh Cooper · 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — It was maybe the toughest film session Alabama cornerback Simeon Castille had after a blowout victory.

The Monday following Alabama’s 52-6 victory over Western Carolina, the Tide coaching staff told Castille about some of the thing he did right, everything he did wrong and where he needs to improve. Imagine what might happen after a loss.

“We did win 52-6, but if you were in the meeting room, you wouldn’t have felt like we won 52-6,” Castille said. “They’re not going to let us sit back and say, ‘Well, we beat Western Carolina 52-6.’ It’s not like that.”

As Alabama (1-0) prepares to face Vanderbilt (1-0) in Nashville in both teams’ SEC opener Saturday, the Tide coaching staff is keeping its players on edge.

“When you play teams like this, your preparation has to be supreme because they are a well-coached team,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “They don’t make a lot of mistakes, and they have a lot of experience and a lot of confidence in their scheme.”

Every part of Alabama’s mauling of the Catamounts was dissected, evaluated and spit back at the players. Some players said that the evaluations were rough, but beneficial.

Saban deemed the play of the defensive front seven as “soft.” Castille saw that he needed to concentrate more on the “little things” like his alignment against wide receivers.

Quarterback John Parker Wilson said he needs to make better reads against the defense, even though he completed 17 of 25 passes for 189 yards.

“If you get complacent after a win like that, the next week is not going to be as good,” Wilson said.

For Saban, the focus always remains on getting better from one game to the next, especially this week.

On Saturday, Alabama goes from facing a Southern Conference opponent to one from the SEC.

“You have to be honest with yourself and say, ‘OK, I only got this; I only did that,’ ” Alabama defensive end Wallace Gilberry said. “Compared to an SEC team, those positives against Western Carolina can be a negative.”

Despite the tough-love approach, the sessions gave the players a chance to look at what they needed to improve upon.

For example, Gilberry said that he didn’t think that the front seven was soft, but if Saban felt that way, then Gilberry would listen and try to play a little rougher the next week.

“It’s tough, but at the same time it is fun, because no matter what you say, we won,” Gilberry said. “I love it. It’s a challenge. If I think what I did was right and he thought it was wrong. It’s a challenge to make it not the way I want it.”

Following Alabama’s season-opening victory, Saban was asked if he felt a sense of relief after getting the first game out of the way.

He fired back, saying that no matter how big the victory, he will never sit back and relax during the season.

Saban has a rule in which players have 24 hours to enjoy the victory before returning to business. According to wide receiver DJ Hall, this week the celebration time was less than the allotted time.

“We don’t worry about past games,” Hall said.

“Vanderbilt is a good team. They are a lot better than Western Carolina.

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