By Joey Chandler
Frustration filled the Alabama locker room during halftime of its 50-17 victory over The Citadel.
Tied 10-10, the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide (11-0) settled in to make adjustments and took part in a motivating heart-to-heart between players.
“It was frustrating. We didn’t come out ready to play,” defensive back Xavier McKinney said. “We didn’t have the right mind-set coming out, so we kind of got fired up during the half and made adjustments and came out and played the second half.”
Alabama wasted no time, holding the Bulldogs scoreless in the third quarter and scoring 27 points, 14 of which came less than two minutes into the second half. Tua Tagovailoa threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Waddle, and 12 seconds later, linebacker Anfernee Jennings scored on an 18-yard fumble recovery to make it a two-possession affair, 24-10.
“The leaders on the team took it upon ourselves to come out and we knew we weren’t playing to the standard. We knew we had to come out and do what we got to do in the second half,” Jennings said.
Alabama held the Citadel to 275 yards of total offense, 126 yards in the second half – all on the ground.
“I feel like we had to adjust to their offense and how they was running a fast tempo. Everyone came in at halftime and we was mad and we just talked to each other that we was going to go out and execute and everybody do their job and everything should be good,” linebacker Mack Wilson said.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban also challenged his players at intermission.
“I talked to the team about what are they really made of. You are talking about a team that doesn’t have maybe any players on their team that could play for our team, and yet we are not beating them,” Saban said. “We are not dominating. We are not finishing. We are not playing to our standard. We are not giving the kind of discipline and execution that we need to be able to execute regardless of what they do on offense, defense and special teams.
“Everybody has kind of got to check their hold card deep down inside and see what you want to to accomplish and what you want to do and I thought the players responded pretty well.”
Reach Joey Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org