By Michael Southern
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
For most college football defenses, holding an opponent to 10 points and 262 yards of total offense would be an admirable performance.
But for the Alabama Crimson Tide defense, the bar is set much higher.
In the aftermath of his team’s 62-10 home-opening victory over the New Mexico State Aggies on Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama junior defensive lineman Raekwon Davis focused on the third-quarter touchdown the Crimson Tide allowed.
“Our standard is high,” Davis said. “I feel like we did a bad job, because I feel like they’re not supposed to score. We’re not supposed to let them score. We had a bunch of lazy tackling going on and that was it.”
The New Mexico State drive that stirred the feelings of discontent from Davis started at the Aggie 25-yard line and ended seven plays later with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Josh Adkins to Jason Huntley.
After holding New Mexico State to just 64 yards of total offense, zero points and four first downs in the first half, the Tide defense allowed the Aggies to complete a 44-yard pass on the third-quarter scoring march.
“It was just bad communication, and when you have bad communication that’s when the mental errors come, that’s when the bad tackling comes and all of that,” Davis said. “We’ve got to do a better job of tackling. We’ve definitely got to get better at tackling. I just feel like we made some lazy tackles.
“We just try to have the same mindset for every opponent. We just come out and try to play fast.”
Despite the mental lapses on the touchdown drive, the Alabama offense answered with two more touchdowns that allowed the Tide to get creative with its defensive personnel.
However, the Aggies dominated the time of possession in the fourth quarter with more than 10 minutes, and drove to the Alabama 2-yard line in the final seconds.
The Crimson Tide had to muster a last-second, goal-line stand to prevent the Aggies from scoring their second touchdown.
“I think we got really sloppy at the end of the game when we played the twos,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “The defense never stopped them the last 10 minutes of the game. But we got to play a lot of players so that will be a good experience for them.”
Junior defensive back Xavier McKinney, along with Davis, led the defense with six tackles each. McKinney also had a forced fumble.
“The mindset for us was to get a good first outing for the fans and for us as a defense,” McKinney said. “We want to get a shutout every time, but it did not happen today. We had a couple of errors here and there. There is always room to improve, and we’ll work on that this week in practice.”
“I pride myself in tackling, even in practice. I do not worry about it too much, but when the play comes to me, I want to make the tackle.”