Despite win, Bama struggles in red zone

Tide running back Eddie Lacy wants the offense to be better in the red zone. John David Mercer/US Presswire

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- In the first three games, the University of Alabama performed like a well-oiled machine once it got in the red zone. The Crimson Tide had scored touchdowns on 11 of the 12 trips in the red area and converted every opportunity into points.

On Saturday, the touchdowns were harder to come by.

Although Alabama won convincingly over Florida Atlantic, 40-7, the Tide crossed the goal line on just half of their six trips inside the Owls’ 20-yard line. They had to settle for three every other time.

“We certainly stalled out today,” UA head coach Nick Saban said. “How many times did we kick field goals today? Was it four? In those kind of situations, we are happy to get the points, and we are pleased that the field goal kickers are delivering for us, but at the same time, we would like to finish some of those drives with a little better execution.”

Junior running back Eddie Lacy led the Tide on the ground with 15 carries for 106 yards, but after scoring three touchdowns a week ago, he failed to hit pay dirt against Florida Atlantic. In fact, freshman Kenyan Drake was the only back to score in the game.

“We just have to execute,” Lacy said. “There were a few plays where the defense just got us. We basically have to go and watch film to see what they did and see what we have to do in order to stop that from happening next week.”

At the end of the first half, Alabama’s first unit showed signs of what it had been able to do all season. After executing an efficient two-minute drill, quarterback AJ McCarron finished the drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to Christion Jones.

“It’s always big anytime you can punch one in right before half,” McCarron said. “The biggest thing in that situation is communication. Everybody has to communicate and execute on the run, and I felt like we did a great job of that.”

Still, the junior signal caller, who has now thrown for 10 touchdowns and no interceptions through four games, wasn’t happy with the team’s execution.

“We left a lot of points out there,” he said. “We can do better.”