Kirk Herbstreit has one-word message for Crimson Tide entering Mississippi State game

Alabama football aims to bounce back Saturday with the No. 5 Crimson Tide (5-1, 2-1 SEC) at Mississippi State for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff. The Week 7 game for Alabama follows a 41-38 loss in last Saturday at Texas A&M. Turning the page from Week 6 and entering the Bulldogs (3-2, 1-1), ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit shared a one-word message for the Tide.

“Simplify,” Herbstreit said Saturday morning on SportsCenter. “They looked like a very confused team last (week). Again, when you play a physically dominant team in college football, you can’t just line up and play football. You’ve got to do a lot of different things with your formations, your personnel groupings and your motions.

“And (Texas) A&M did a heck of a job of confusing Alabama’s defense. Alabama, many times, on their heels looking at each other, kind of shrugging their shoulders, confused with the looks. I think they had too much maybe in the plan. … Busted coverage, getting beat up front at the line of scrimmage.

“I wouldn’t be surprised — now they’re going up against Mike Leach. Simplify the plan, get back to letting your players understand what they’re doing, play fast and avoid all the busts that they had a week ago. But to me, give Jimbo Fisher all the credit for knowing Nick Saban’s system and coming up with those looks to create that confusion.”

Alabama head coach Nick Saban was honest this week when he addressed his team’s standard.

“I’ve always got competitive fire because I respect what it takes to win,” Saban said. “I respect what it takes to prepare to win. And I try to do it every week, and I try to get the players to respond to it each and every week so that they have the best chance to create value for themselves and they go out and play. And when players don’t play well, they don’t create value for themselves and they don’t create value for the team.