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A pair of embattled quarterbacks:Alabama’s John Parker Wilson, right, with Florida State’s Drew Weatherford after Saturday’s game.
AP photo by Steve Cannon
A pair of embattled quarterbacks:Alabama’s John Parker Wilson, right, with Florida State’s Drew Weatherford after Saturday’s game.

Tide’s Wilson struggles again, and his coach notices

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com · 340-2460

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When addressing criticism, Alabama’s John Parker Wilson knows it’s all about the most recent view.

On the Wednesday preceding the Crimson Tide’s game against Florida State, he said, “It’s what have you done for me lately?”

After Saturday, count Wilson’s coach as a critic. Alabama’s Nick Saban didn’t give Wilson or the offense a ringing endorsement after a 21-14 loss to Florida State.

Wilson completed 28 of 53 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns, and according to Saban, those numbers didn’t tell the whole picture of Wilson’s performance.

“All this stuff about the attempts and the yards, that doesn’t matter,” Saban said. “It was all after the fact and it didn’t matter, and all this stuff about coming back in the game, it’s only good if you can come back and win it.”

Through three quarters, Wilson completed 15 of 25 for 119 yards. The fourth quarter saw him lead Alabama on two scoring drives. One was a 13-play, 91-yard drive in which Wilson found DJ Hall in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard strike to make the score 14-7.

On Alabama’s second scoring drive of the quarter, with the Tide trailing 21-7, Wilson connected with Matt Caddell for 25 yards downfield on fourth-and-10 from Alabama’s 40-yard-line. Wilson also scrambled for 18 yards and a first down, and two plays later, he hit Keith Brown just beyond the goal line for a 17-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 21-14 with the extra point.

That was the best Alabama’s offense could muster as Florida State recovered the onside kick on the ensuing play.

“I guess ... we need to play the whole game. We need to put it all together,” Wilson said. “Myself, everybody can improve on everything.It’s not one single thing. We just have to get better.”

Wilson’s difficulties against Florida State continue his up-and-down season. He has looked good at times and average during others.

Wilson has led Alabama back from fourth-quarter deficits in the past three games, but has made critical mistakes in those contests.

In the Tide’s win against Arkansas he had two turnovers — an interception and a fumble — that led to 14 points by the Razorbacks.

On Saturday, at the start of the fourth quarter, he was sacked and fumbled the ball on his own 5-yard line. The Seminoles recovered, and FSU running back Antone Smith raced into the end zone one play later to put the score at 14-0 with 9:03 remaining.

While it may be easy to put the blame on Wilson for the play, Saban pointed that there were a lot of factors that led to Alabama’s offensive problems.

“I don’t think it’s fair to sit here and blame it on the quarterback,” Saban said. “I’m not sure that was the issue. When you can’t run the ball or get blocks, that’s not the quarterback’s fault. We can’t pass protect well enough to get the ball off.That’s not the quarterback’s fault.”

Along with Wilson, Alabama’s running game had its difficulties as it mustered 110 yards on the ground. Terry Grant had 36 rushing yards, while Glen Coffee had 31.

“We couldn’t run it.We couldn’t throw it. We couldn’t make a first down,” Saban said. “You saw it just like I saw it. It wasn’t very good.”

Alabama Monday Playback

Three things Alabama should remember from its 21-14 loss to Florida State

  • The hard part is over: Just be happy you took one game out of the last three. Arkansas, Georgia and Florida State gave you an early-season gauntlet. Now the schedule eases with Houston and Ole Miss.

  • Learn from this experience: There will be tougher games down the road. You have Tennessee, LSU and Auburn coming in the second half of the season. Just keep in mind it’s better to lose early and learn than lose late.

  • Your offense is better than this: The offense was supposed to be the backbone of this Alabama team. Not sure what the problem has been, but you have a lot of talent. Keep that in mind.

    Josh Cooper

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