Alabama football coach Nick Saban was asked Saturday about the patience required to develop a first-year starter lacking experience such as quarterback Jalen Milroe. But on the heels of a 24-10 win over Ole Miss, the coach veered away from the quarterback position to answer the question.
Instead, he went straight to the realm of mental errors and miscues.
"It takes a lot of patience on my part when you score five touchdowns that get called back, so that takes patience too," Saban said, referring to scoring plays ‒ two against Texas, two against South Florida, and another Saturday against Ole Miss – that have come off the scoreboard due to penalties. Against the Rebels, it was a second-half touchdown run by Jase McClellan that came back on a holding call.
Saban, however, wasn't finished.
"It takes patience when you're first-and-1 at the 1, and you don't score a touchdown, that takes patience," he said with a smile. "So I've got a lot of things testing my patience."
At the time, it was no laughing matter. After a blocked punt, Alabama had a first-and-goal from the Ole Miss 1-yard line in the first half, but an errant shotgun snap went over Milroe's head for a big loss, and the Crimson Tide couldn't recover, having to settle instead for a Will Reichard 40-yard field goal.
As for developing quarterbacks, Saban's done that before, and knows that there can't always be an established veteran taking snaps.
"I think you have to take advantage of the lessons. I meet with the quarterbacks on Sunday, I meet with them on Thursday, I have some things, like, 'Here are things you did well, here are things you need to look at'," Saban said. "... Jalen's really good about that. He really wants to learn, he really listens, and (offensive coordinator) Tommy (Rees) does a good job with him."
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This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: What is testing Alabama coach Nick Saban's patience? Here's the list