The Crimson Tide escaped with a 49-42 victory, but five days later, Pagan still was unhappy with the defense’s performance.
“That really didn’t sit well with us,” Pagan said. “As a defense, we take pride in not giving up big plays and things like that. We definitely have to work and try and fix all those mistakes.”
The Tide gave up a school record 628 yards and allowed reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel to throw for 464 yards and five touchdowns.
AMARI COOPER: After a stellar freshman season, wide receiver Amari Cooper seems to have a hit a sophomore slump. He still ranks second on the team the team with six catches for 72 yards, but hasn’t lived up to the high expectations set this off-season.
“Amari has worked really hard. We look forward to him having a very, very good season,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “I think we have more weapons this year with all of our guys healthy, and I'm hopeful we can utilize all those weapons.”
But Cooper’s slow statistical start may not be a serious issue. This time last season, Cooper had three catches for 27 yards. As receivers ahead of him went down with injuries, Cooper caught fire and finished the year with 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns on 59 catches.
Saban said team’s aren’t defending Cooper any differently so far.
“You know Virginia Tech played a lot of man-to-man, middle-of-the-field coverage, which is single coverage outside,” Saban said. “They play some split safety on third down, so they had somebody over and under him on third down. Last week, they were doing everything they could to stuff the run, and we were able to throw the ball outside. We had a couple of opportunities when we weren’t able to take advantage of.”
Cooper was limited during preseason practice with a strained foot and said he was “95 percent” heading into the season.
MARTY LYONS: Former Alabama great Marty Lyons continues to be one of the most decorated players in Crimson Tide history.
Lyons, a College Football Hall of Fame inductee, was selected to the Southeastern Conference’s 2013 Football Legends Class on Thursday when the league office announced representatives from the SEC West. The class will be honored at the 2013 SEC Football “Weekend of Champions” on Dec. 6-7 in Atlanta. The East Division representatives were announced Tuesday.
Lyons, a native of Pinellas Park, Fla., played defensive linemen for legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant during 1976-78. Lyons was a consensus All-American in 1978 and a two-time All-SEC selection in 1977 and 1978. Lyons made 202 tackles in his career with six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
He was a key player in the famous goal line stand in the Sugar Bowl win that clinched Alabama's 1978 national title.
The New York Jets selected Lyons with the 14th pick of the first round in the 1979 NFL draft and spent 11 seasons with the Jets.