When Cam Robinson addressed the University of Alabama offense earlier this week, he let the entire unit know that its performance in the Peach Bowl was unacceptable.
It can’t happen again. There’s only one game left.
“Playing like that, that’s the kind of stuff that will get us beat,” the junior offensive lineman said.
Alabama defeated Washington, 24-7, to continue its journey to the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday against Clemson, but it wasn’t a clean game. The Crimson Tide had 11 penalties for a loss of 66 yards. The Huskies had only three for a loss of 10.
“A lot of the things that went wrong obviously we brought on ourselves,” Robinson said. “It was all just like technical stuff – false starts, holding calls, illegal formations. Those things are all just stuff we could control and have to clean up.
During his final press conference before heading to Tampa, Fla., UA head coach Nick Saban said the first two practices have gone pretty well. He’s happy with the energy level.
Looking back on the film from this past weekend, however, evokes a different emotion.
“We had 25 negative plays in the last games, so what do you think I saw?” Saban said. “We had poor execution, a lot of poor fundamentals. (We) didn’t execute well, weren’t very consistent.”
Quarterback Jalen Hurts had a rough time. He was sacked five times for a loss of 38 yards. He completed half of his passes (7-of-14) for 57 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per attempt and picking up three first downs.
It was by far his worst production through the air this season. His second-lowest output was 107 passing yards against LSU. Saban noticed Hurts was very hard on himself afterward.
“That’s one of the things that we’re going to work on early this week so that he goes into this game with a little better comfort zone,” Saban said.
On the field, Robinson has seen Hurts turn it up a notch this week.
There’s an extra sense of urgency among the offense in practice. That’s how the Crimson Tide wants it.
“With him being the quarterback, he knows a lot of that falls on his shoulders,” Robinson said. “He’s obviously our leader and we’re going to follow him.”
It wasn’t all bad, though. Alabama had 269 rushing yards.
Running back Bo Scarbrough had a standout performance, picking up 180 yards on 19 carries. He averaged 9.5 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns.
“Bo Scarbrough played really, really well,” Saban said. “Some other guys played well but not with enough consistency and execution to eliminate a lot of the negative plays, which puts you behind in down and distance, which gives you way too many third and longs, which means you don’t extend drives.”
It easily turns into a series of unfortunate events.
The Crimson Tide was successful on just four of its 14 third-down conversions. It failed to execute on its sole fourth-down conversion. Many players were frustrated, but it’s time to move forward.
“Every guy’s got to do their job, trust and believe in it,” Saban said.