Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Saban, Tide focus on avoiding 2010 mistakes


For Alabama head coach Nick Saban, this year’s message to his team is the same as ever: play to a standard, rather than to win.

This year, however, Saban’s message has an added wrinkle to it. That wrinkle is to avoid the complacency that comes with winning a national championship.

Saban said for his team, which is coming off its second championship in three years, to be successful in 2012, it couldn’t make the same mistakes it did in 2010, when players were focused more on their championship in 2009 than another in 2010.

Still, Saban said this year’s team seems to be having less trouble focusing on the present than dwelling on the past.

“This team seems to be less affected by the previous year,” Saban said. “They’re not really the 2010 team, they’re not really the 2011 team.”

For players like senior Barrett Jones, however, it’s important to remember the lessons learned from the 2010 season in order to avoid repeating them this year. For Jones, the mistake was not buying into Saban’s message of remaining competitive.

“The message is the same,” Jones said. “I think the difference was the first time, Coach Saban said ‘no complacency,’ and we talked about it and said [it] to each other, but for some reason, we just didn’t buy into it.”

Jones said this team, comprised of players whose careers date back to that 2009 championship season, will be able to overcome relaxing this year.

“This year, it’s started with the older guys talking to the younger guys,” Jones said. “It’s not going to sneak up on [us] this year. We have a lot of guys from that 2010 season, and we all had a bad feeling from that season, and we don’t want to feel that way again.”

Senior defensive end Damion Square shared his teammate’s sentiments.

“Some of us older guys have experience with that because of what happened before,” Square said. “We saw what can happen – the things that should’ve been stopped and the good things that happened because there were good things we did that year.”

Complacency isn’t the only opponent the Tide will have to fight off this year, though. The Tide is losing seven starters from a defense that led the nation in every major statistical category, and it faces teams like Michigan, Arkansas and LSU, all away from home.

Despite the difficulties the 2012 season will present, Saban said he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We’re obviously looking forward to the challenges of a very probably difficult SEC football season,” Saban said. “A lot of good teams, lots of good players. That’s what makes the league great.”

Outside of remaining competitive, Saban said the key to the success of his team would be older players not only playing at a high level, but helping in the development of younger players, as well. Regardless, Saban said only time will tell how his team identifies itself in 2012.

“I think this 2012 team will be defined by what they do, not what they’ve done,” Saban said. “We’re looking forward to the challenges of the 2012 season.”

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