Tide notebook: Saban on targeting, injuries, Geno Smith
by Marq Burnett
Sep 16, 2013 | 2942 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama coach Nick Saban voiced his concerns with the new targeting rules this off-season. Saban wanted a detailed explanation of the rule and thought it would leave too much up for interpretation.

In the Crimson Tide’s 49-42 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday, the rule almost cost the Tide one of its best defensive players when safety HaHa Clinton-Dix was flagged for targeting Aggies wide receiver Derel Walker and ejected early in the second quarter.

Upon further review, officials overturned the ejection, but by rule, the penalty flag can not be reviewed and the 15-yard personal foul penalty stood. During his Monday news conference, Saban implied he wanted that part of the rule changed.

“Personally, on the rule itself, if you can review a play to say a guy should be ejected or not be ejected, to me, you should be able to review if it was a penalty or not a penalty,” he said. “That's not what the rule is. You asked me my opinion. I’m giving you my opinion.”

Despite Clinton-Dix's near-ejection, Tide safety Vinnie Sunseri said it won’t make him play tentatively.

“No, sir. I go 110 miles per hour every single play,” Sunseri said. “Whenever the ball’s in the air I just try to go attack it. If I hit somebody I'm going to try and make sure it’s within the rules. That’s what we're trying to do.”

INJURY UPDATE: Saban provided a brief update on some of the Crimson Tide's injured stars Monday. Wide receiver Kevin Norwood, right guard Anthony Steen and cornerback Deion Belue all went down during the Tide's victory over Texas A&M on Saturday.

"Deion's going to be day-to-day and probably questionable," Saban said. "Kevin Norwood is day to day and probably questionable. Steen is day-to-day but very probable that he'll be back in a day or whatever."

Norwood left the game in third quarter and did not return. He was injured while run blocking for Kenyan Drake.

Steen went down in the fourth quarter. Fifth-year Kellen Williams replaced him on the Tide's last touchdown drive.

Belue was hurt in the second quarter. Saban said Belue hurt his toes and probably has turf toe following the game. Saban did not reveal the nature of the injuries to Norwood and Steen.

YELDON'S STATEMENT: In a prepared statement, Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon apologized for the unsportsmanlike penalty he received in the Crimson Tide’s win at Texas A&M.

“I want to apologize to everyone for my selfish actions on Saturday,” Yeldon said in a statement released through the school's athletics communications office. “That is not the way I want to represent myself, my family and our team. That is not the way we do things at Alabama. This is something that I will learn from, and I will use better judgment in the future.”

Yeldon scored a four-yard touchdown near the end of the second quarter to cap an 11-play, 93-yard drive.

After the play, Yeldon made the “money” gesture Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel does after big plays and then made a double throat-slashing gesture.

The play pushed the Tide back 15 yards for its ensuing kickoff, but didn’t affect the touchdown.

“That’s not us,” Saban said following the game. “That’s not our program. That’s not what we do. We’ve never ever tolerated and we’ve never ever had it. I don’t think there’s any place for it in college football. I can’t control what other people do, but I can control what our guys do.”

GENO SMITH: Sophomore cornerback Geno Smith saw limited action Saturday after being suspended for the season opener. Smith was replaced by Jarrick Williams, who had the deflection that set up Vinnie Sunseri’s 73-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Saban said Smith has to earn his spot.

“Geno’s got to beat somebody out. He lost his job,” Saban said. “Jarrick has played really well. So, I mean, nobody has a rite of passage here just because you played in two games last year, ‘I’m guaranteed my job.’ If you do the right things and you play well, nobody gets your job.”
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