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

Murphy, team looking to make new identity in 2013

Last summer, the Alabama softball team made history by winning the team’s first national championship in softball, making it only second team east of the Mississippi River to win to do so since Michigan in 2005.

It was a historic season for Alabama softball, and one that will likely be etched in the program’s history for a long time.

But for head coach Patrick Murphy, that is the extent of his team’s 2012 season: history. Murphy said that season belonged to an altogether different team than the one he’s fielding in 2013, and does nothing to affect their chances of success this year.

“Everybody realizes that this is a different team,” Murphy said. “Every season, no matter how many you have coming back, no matter how many new kids you have coming in, every team takes on a different personality and a different team ego.”

Still, Murphy said this wasn’t something he had to stress to his team heading into the 2013 season. Senior outfielder Kayla Braud shared the same sentiments as her coach.

“Nobody feels like we’re entitled,” Braud said. “No one is feeling laid back after winning it all last year.”

Rather, Braud said she and her team are focused on creating a new identity for themselves in 2013, one completely separate and independent of the 2012 team.

“I’m looking for our team to go out with a hunger and a new-found desire to win again,” Braud said. “It’s tough to come out after we’ve won it all because it’s easy to become complacent, but I don’t think anyone on the team has been complacent.”

The team certainly has the talent to make its own identity this season. It’s bringing in a talented group of freshmen while returning an experienced senior class. The team is also bringing back Jackie Traina, one of the best softball players in the nation.

Murphy said his team also has some advantages this year that it didn’t last season, one of those being team speed. Murphy said he’s bringing in one of his fastest outfields ever at Alabama, and that numerous players will have the option to steal bases whenever they want.

But one of the biggest advantages Murphy said this team has over last year isn’t simply overall talent – he’s never had such a deep, experienced roster either.

“It’s probably the most depth we’ve ever had,” Murphy said. “Last year was tremendous, but this year we’re even better. I’ve got two kids at every position that can start at any time.”

Indeed, that talent has done more than boost his team’s confidence. Murphy said his team’s ability to practice against some of the best players in the nation – themselves – will be something that helps his team greatly as the season wears on.

“The competition is the best we’ve ever had,” Murphy said. “There’s not an A team and a B team. You could flip a coin at every position. That’s true competition… It’s similar when you have a Mark Ingram and a Trent Richardson. They’re going to make each other better.”

While Murphy said he feels his team has all the talent and intangible factors to be successful this year, he said he only time would tell if his team can achieve its own success this year.

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Alabama basketball team still faces tough road toward NCAA tournament 

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