One area Nick Saban cited as needing improvement after Saturday’s win over Fresno State was for Alabama’s linebackers to “retrace” on certain plays. That didn’t always happen with the Crimson Tide breaking in several inexperienced linebackers due to injury at the position.

“We obviously have a lot of work to do at that position,” Saban said. “I think some things that maybe the fan doesn’t notice is, a guy doesn’t retrace on a screen, that’s part of stopping screens. Guys don’t retrace on the quarterback draw. That’s part of being a good pass rusher is knowing when a guy is setting up for a screen, when’s he setting for a draw, when’s he pass setting. These are all things we need to improve on so we can play those particular plays better.”

Defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne explained what “retracing” means while speaking to the media earlier this week.

“When they throw the ball sideways it just comes out the stack,” he said. “The DBs bring them back inside, and we need to be there to make the plays.”

Reach Ben Jones at or 205-722-0196.