Starters included true freshman Eddie Jackson, and sophomore Bradley Sylve at cornerback and sophomore Geno Smith at the Star.
"I wasn't disappointed in any of them," Saban said. "They all made their share of good plays and they all made a few mistakes."
I have no idea what to make of all of this. Part of me thinks that Saban was just trying to prove a point to some guys and everything will be fine. Another part of the thinks that the moves were precipitated by some bad behind-the-scenes mojo and we have some serious issues there that may cost the team greatly.
Alabama finished 2-for-10, dropping its season average to a 33 percent (11-for-33) success rate. The Crimson Tide converted 48 percent of its third downs in 2012.
"Some of it was lack of preparation on our part from a coaching standpoint," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Some of it was lack of execution from the players, which we need to get corrected and it's our responsibility to do that."
Well, that's a telling quote if I've ever seen one. There was a lot of people in our open threads that noted that Saban wasn't blowing up during the game, despite an obviously lackluster performance. Now it seems that the entire coaching staff might very well have been looking past this game and using it basically as a practice session.
The Crimson Tide secondary was down three bodies: starting cornerback Deion Belue (toe), starting "Star" defensive back Jarrick Williams (eye) and reserve safety Nick Perry (shoulder).
Belue did not practice during the week and his absence was anticipated, but Williams and Perry were relative surprises. Saban said Williams, who gave his first interview in more than a year Tuesday, was poked in the eye in last week's game and was not medically cleared to play.
During his pre-game interview, Saban described Williams' injury as "serious."
"His eye bled, he lost his vision," Saban said. "We're going to re-examine him Monday."
Sheesh. That sounds awful. We can only hope that Jarrick is able to recover and recover quickly. He was turning into serious asset, and it would be nice to have him back.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO THE SEC?
A rough effort on both sides of the ball for the Crimson Tide will likely leave the Ole Miss Rebels licking their chops as they prepare to head to Tuscaloosa next week. Alabama's offensive line continued to struggle while the Tide secondary gave up plenty of yardage despite limiting big plays.
Yet style points were lacking as Alabama managed just one offensive touchdown through three quarters. The offensive struggles came in spite of facing the nation's No. 92 overall defense. The Tide led just 17-6 after the first 45 minutes when it was out-gaining the Rams just 248-227 while running 17 fewer plays.
"Today was pretty somber," said Kellen Williams, a fifth-year senior who earned his first career start at right guard. "Obviously we didn't perform offensively as well as we're capable of."
McElwain post-game press conference
Saban post-game press conference