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Alabama’s Nick Saban turns his attention to defense after close win: ‘Everybody’s gotta be disciplined’

Alabama may have gotten the win against Florida on Saturday to likely stay atop the Associated Press college football rankings but coach Nick Saban was unhappy with how his defense played.

The Crimson Tide, in one of the toughest games the team has played in the regular season in years, allowed the Gators to get 440 total yards in the game, including 245 yards on the ground. Alabama managed to hang on for the 31-29 victory but the defense will be a focal point from here on out.

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“Especially on defense,” Saban said of his biggest concern, via Saturday Down South. “We had a lot of mental errors. And they did a good job, they did a really good job. They had a good plan, and when you’re playing the option, everybody’s gotta be disciplined. Somebody’s got the quarterback, somebody’s got the pitch, and we weren’t doing that correctly. I think we were afraid to do a lot of other things that we had planned in the game. But we didn’t get off the field on third down either.

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“We had several opportunities, especially in the fourth quarter, to get off the field on third where we created long-yardage situations. When they went 99 yards for a touchdown, they got it backed up on the 1-yard line and we got a third down, we’ve gotta get off the field.”

Alabama’s defense got a big stop late in the fourth quarter. Florida led a 12-play, 75-yard drive to bring the game within two points. But the two-point conversion, which would have tied the game, was stopped.

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Alabama is used to blowing out opponents in the regular season. The Crimson Tide’s last loss, not including the playoffs or conference title game, came against No. 1 LSU in 2019.

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