BATON ROUGE LA - NOVEMBER 06: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches a play during the game against the Louisiana State University Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 6 2010 in Baton Rouge Louisiana. The Tigers defeated the Crimson Tide 24-21. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The traditional Monday afternoon press conference by Nick Saban went about like I expected it to, and by that I mean it was not pretty. No profanity this week or any of the outbursts like we saw after the South Carolina game, but the frustration, the disappointment, and the uncertainty moving forward were all clearly present.
Once the update on injury news was complete -- Trent Richardson, Kerry Murphy, and Chris Jordan are day-to-day with injuries; DeQuan Menzie was healthy against LSU and may start against Mississippi State -- Saban moved to the "real" issues with the team now, and that is where the concerns were evident.
Start with execution. Saban said that all throughout the bye week we put a heavy emphasis on basic execution, and guess what? As was obvious by watching the game film, several of big plays we gave up against LSU were, as Saban put it, "big-time mental errors."
Moving on, he talked about focus directly on being the best team and best player you can be and then openly bemoaned the fact that this team had lost sight of that. Perhaps just as concerning, regarding leadership, he noted that UA has had good leadership but that it was difficult to get young players to be leaders, which was arguably all just a thinly-veiled way of saying that, especially on the defensive side of the ball, we really do not have enough leadership right now.
The good news is that at least we have a head coach who is willing to take issues straight-on without sugarcoating the obvious and / or making excuses for shortcomings. He was pretty straightforward this afternoon that this whole situation is a reality check for how good this team wants to be, and that we have to choose how we want to finish the season from here on out. Hopefully it all comes together in the final three weeks, but it's hard to watch something like this and not be concerned moving forward.