Nick Saban rips Alabama after winning by four TDs: ‘I’m almost embarrassed’

Marvin Gentry/Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

After their game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Saturday, the Alabama Crimson Tide — the nation’s No. 1 team — were in a bad mood. They were somber, contemplative, and subdued.

"A lot of people are disappointed and embarrassed at how we performed," standout pass rusher Ryan Anderson said. "As a team, we all feel like we let each other down and let our fans down.”

"It wasn’t Alabama football tonight," wide receiver ArDarius Stewart said.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban gave offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin an “ass-chewing” late in the contest and he took that negative energy into in the post-game press conference.

"We have lots of work to do," he said. "I didn’t think we prepared very well for this game. I don’t think we respected the team we played. Like I said before, when you’re arrogant, it makes you complacent. It creates a blatant disregard for doing things right. If we don’t start doing things right, we’re not going to have the kind of success that we’re capable of."

Alabama had just won 38-10.

"I don’t know that I’ve ever been this disappointed after winning a game, maybe ever," Saban said, later adding: "I’m almost embarrassed that I didn’t do a better job for my team."

Being the best team in the nation bestows high standards. But Alabama clearly holds itself to a higher standard than that — is it any wonder why they’re able to maintain this incredible level of success?

If you’re really looking hard, there were things for Alabama to be angry about: The Tide did start the game slow and there were 12 Alabama penalties. There was also a late fourth-quarter fumble that allowed Western Kentucky, which boasts on the nation’s best air raid offenses, to score its only touchdown.

But there were far more positives to be found: Tide’s defense was frighteningly good, and the offense — while at times disjointed — didn’t necessarily regress from the Week 1 win over USC. The Alabama offense doubled WKU’s offensive output with 475 yards Saturday.

But it wasn’t perfect, so it wasn’t good enough for Saban. And, tellingly, the Alabama players.

The SEC has been overtaken by Saban envy — LSU coach Les Miles is on the hot seat, despite a 112-32 record entering his 12th season at the school, and Georgia hired Saban’s defensive coordinator and fired a coach who won 145 games in 15 years at the school and 10 games in his final year — because no one can seem to beat him.

The denial of any semblance of complacency is a good reason why his teams remain on top.

Saban gets the best players — Alabama is the best recruiting team in the country — but there are lots of tremendous recruiters around the nation. Saban hired one as his offensive coordinator. But once you get the players into the program, you have to coach them up, and Saban and his staff clearly do that just as well.

Alabama plays at Ole Miss next Saturday — it’s one of the toughest games on the team’s hellacious schedule and a revenge tilt for the Tide, who were beaten at home by the Rebs last season. After a four-touchdown win and that post-game response, do you think they’re ready for it?