Tide down but
Alabama players insist they won’t dwell on loss to Georgia in OT
By Josh Cooper
TUSCALOOSA — A few Alabama players wore forlorn looks on their faces following Alabama’s 26-23 overtime loss against Georgia.
But near the back of the Crimson Tide’s postgame interview room at Bryant-Denny Stadium stood cornerback Simeon Castille. And even only minutes after suffering the loss, Castille said the game was enjoyable.
“I don’t think my heart can take much more, but it’s fun playing in those tight games,” Castille said.
Nearby, Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson was already talking about the Crimson Tide’s next opponent.
“We’ve got to learn what we did wrong and come back and get ready for Florida State,” he said.
Castille’s body language and Wilson’s words served as a sampler of the optimism surrounding the Crimson Tide, despite the tough loss.
Following each of Alabama’s four straight losses at the end of last season, players rarely looked or sounded upbeat.
After falling to Mississippi State, then-Tide running back Kenneth Darby recited the memorable phrase, calling the defeat “embarrassing.”
This past Saturday, none of the players who spoke with reporters seemed broken by the loss..
“It’s just like if it’s on the field if we have a bad play,” said Tide safety Rashad Johnson, who had an interception against Georgia. “We have to forget it and go about the next play. We lost, and we have to forget and we have to go play next week.”
Philosophically, this mind-set comes from the top. Alabama coach Nick Saban stresses that his players can’t get too high after a win or too low after a loss. Hence, the often discussed 24-hour rule.
According to Saban, when Alabama beat Arkansas the previous week, the team might have celebrated for a little longer than the allotted day.
“Sometimes you get a little relieved and satisfied with what you’ve done and you’re not as willing and as hungry to do it the next time,” Saban said “We did not have the intensity in the first half that we needed.”
Saban described that first half as “the worst we have played all year long.”
The Crimson Tide came out flat offensively with 145 yards in the first 30 minutes, 46 of which came on the half’s final drive. That culminated in Leigh Tiffin’s 40-yard field goal for Alabama’s only points of the half.
Saban said he was “proud” of the way the team came back in the second half from a 20-10 deficit but put the responsibility on himself for his team not being prepared in the first.
“It’s my job to get the team ready, so we failed them in some ways because they weren’t as ready as they needed to be,” Saban said. “We’ll get that corrected in the future.”
This Tide team said it is confident, which perhaps explains its post-loss demeanor Saturday.
“We understand that we can win a game in the fourth quarter whatever it may be, down 10, down 20, whatever it is,” Tide center Antoine Caldwell said. “We just need to battle back for next week.”
Alabama Monday Playback
Three points Alabama should remember after Saturday’s 26-23 overtime loss to Georgia.
This isn’t the end: Losing is tough, but it’s still the fourth game of the season, and there is plenty of football left. It’s better to lose early in a season than lose late.
Don’t believe the hype: We’re guessing that you heard at least some of the chatter about your hot start this season. Coming out flat was a clear indicator that there are still things to work upon.
Listen to coach: Nick Saban has been there before. He seems to always know what buttons to push. If you do what he says, at very worst, you’ll be competitive next week against Florida State.
Save $84.50 a year off our newsstand price:
Subscribe today for only 38 cents a day!