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Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee)
Alabama football coach Nick Saban blasted a lot of folks Wednesday evening after practice.
Thousands of them.
Saban was asked in a news conference whether he thought it was neat that some Crimson Tide fans had started wearing leis and Hawaiian shirts to games to support sophomore starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. After answering in the affirmative, Saban quickly used the opportunity to voice his displeasure with a lackluster student section during last Saturday's 56-14 trampling of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama built a 49-0 halftime lead.
"What makes this a special experience here is when we have great support from everybody in our program — all of our fans and all of our students," Saban said. "I can honestly say I was a little disappointed that there weren't more students at the last game. I think we're trying to address that, because I don't think they are entitled to anything, either.
"Personally, I think it ought to be first come, first serve, and if they don't want to come to the games, then they don't have to come, but I'm sure there are enough people around here who would like to come to the games, and we would like for them to come because they would support the players."
Last Saturday's game kicked off with the temperature a comfortable 75 degrees, but it started at 11 a.m. Central, which is not always appealing to students. The opponent was not much of a draw as well, with Louisiana coming off a home loss to Coastal Carolina.
Saban pointed out fans hardly cheer for the announcements of the players before games anymore, adding there used to be more spirit.
"Our players work too hard, and they deserve to have people supporting them in every way," he said. "There has to be a spirit that makes it special to play here, because that's what makes it special to be here. If that's not here, then does it continue to be special to be here or not? That's the question everybody has to ask.
"We've always had great people travel on the road with us. We've always had great spirit on the road. We've got great fans, and I appreciate that, but to see half the student section not full? I've never seen that since I've been here."
Alabama does not play at home again until Missouri visits next week.
The undefeated and No. 1 Tide continued preparations Wednesday for this week's journey to Arkansas, which is off to a 1-4 start. Not making the Fayetteville trip will be sophomore defensive back Daniel Wright, a 6-foot-1, 185-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
"He's suspended from the team for a violation of team rules," Saban said.
Wright has played in four of Alabama's five games so far this season, making eight tackles and deflecting two passes.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
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