Please stand behind our troops or feel free to stand in front of them.
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I think Saban is the best recruiter in the game - with no one even close. He is also the best recruiter of assistant coaches in the game. He knows how to recognize talent (players and coaches). He knows how to develop coaches, and his coaches know how to develop players.
His "process" is awesome, but it is not unique. Many coaches follow a similar program. And even he admits that he isn't the best coach in college football - but he is always looking to hire the best.
Alabama wins because you have the most talent, and you have the most talent because you have the best talent evaluater and recruiter.
The strange thing about the last two seasons is that we really won it two different ways, 2011 was all about defense. Sure McCarron had a big day against LSU but the Defense choked the life out of them and gave McCarron fantastic field position almost every time. 2012 was different, our secondary struggled a bit and at times allowed points in bunches, yet McCarron kept firing the ball deep and kept hitting those passes and brought us back. It's unfortunate they kind of screwed up on the goal line against Texas A&M because that would have been yet another amazing comeback. I really thought they would win it when they got to the five.
Anyway, 2013 is anyone's guess, some good players returning on both sides and some big time winners missing on both sides. I have no idea what to expect.
The reason that the 2010 team performed, or under-performed, the way that they did was because of three, related things: over-confidence, self-centered thinking, and a lack of followed leadership.
Going undefeated in 2009, with the talent we had coming back, caused many people on the team to think - at least in the back of their minds - that the team was unbeatable. It was not. Many of the upperclassmen were thinking way too much about the NFL Draft in 2011 even before the 2010 season began. Combine this with the extra distraction of the ESPN cameras following them around campus and this led to a tendency for many players to think about themselves and their goals more so than the team and its goals. And, while we did have several veteran players willing to try to lead the team and try to keep everyone's focus in the right place, many of the veteran players that the team looked to weren't as concerned about the team's focus. All of these things combined to result in poor preparation at times, poor chemistry and communication at times, and varying levels of performance from game to game. Add to that one of the toughest, if not the toughest, schedules in the SEC if not the nation and the end result is three losses that quite possibly should have all been wins.
This team, even with the talent coming back, knows that it is not unbeatable. The Texas A&M game last year was a bit of a perfect storm for the Aggies - the timing turned out to be the best opportunity for an upset and they took advantage of that opportunity. Coach Saban and the rest of the coaching staff have certainly learned from the 2010 season how to better help the team to maintain focus after a successful season. There are also quite a few players on this team that remember that 2010 season and will not want to repeat it. This team, both last year and this year following the BCS Championship Game, have shown an attitude of commitment to the team and its goals, noticeably above and beyond their own. We also have a lot of veteran leaders coming back who are both respected by their teammates as well as fully committed to "the process". Because of that I do not think Coach Saban and the staff will have a hard time getting this team to focus through the Spring, Summer, and Fall leading into the season as well as Monday through Friday during the season; this team will be ready to compete on Saturday before Saturday arrives, not just willing to begin competing whenever Saturday finally rolls around. In addition, we also have a schedule that sets up perfectly for a run at an undefeated season. As much as the Texas A&M game set up last year to be the perfect opportunity for an Aggie upset, this year's game sets up perfectly for a nice can of Crimson Tide revenge. Our biggest question mark - and likely our biggest weakness - heading into next season will be our Offensive Line. No one on our schedule, though, looks to have the horses to take advantage of that potential weakness. Texas A&M should be a tough game but our offense should be able to put up points on their defense while our defense should be able to perform better against them than it did this past season and, as I mentioned, this game sets up perfectly for us to go into College Station and come out with a big win. LSU could be a tough game as well but LSU lost a ton, including their entire starting Defensive Line, and looks to match up very poorly - despite having a lot of overall talent - on both sides of the ball against Alabama. No one else on our schedule should get within 14 points of us, even playing our "B" game, outside of possibly Ole Miss.
After the Texas A&M game, there's a very decent chance that we'll be a double digit favorite in every game up until a potential berth in the SEC Championship Game.
Personally, taking everything into account, I think we've got about a 90% chance of winning the SEC West, a 60% chance of winning the SEC Championship, and a 50% chance of winning the BCS Championship - even with the added pressure of a possible "three-peat".
I have yet to figure out why common sense and common courtesy are called common.
Tradition is always under construction.
- Nick Saban
I can't wait to see this team. I just hope the leadership and egos are in the proper places.
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I believe the team will be well prepared through-out the season. Even at the highest level of play, sometimes you need the ball to bounce your way. We had three close games this past year and then things went our way with regard to Oregon and K-State. Just one more wrong bounce and we would be looking back at 2012 very differently.
That being said...Bama will be well prepared and talented...and often the ball "bounces the right way" for the better team.
Bama 906-317-44 73.2% On the field
26 SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS
The same is true this year. If AJ goes down for more than a game or two, I certainly don't see us winning the SEC, but there aren't many teams who can lose their starting QB and win much . Injuries would hurt us in the secondary and on the OL. We have a lot of talented guys both places just not much experience.