SEC Football Media Days Report: Alabama looks to avoid championship hangover

By Chandler Rome

The Daily Reveille, Louisiana State U. via UWIRE

HOOVER, Ala. — Nick Saban doesn’t want another season like 2010.

Coming off the first national title for the Crimson Tide since 1992, Alabama stumbled to a 10-3 record and a fourth-place finish in the Southeastern Conference Western Division, prompting many to speculate if Saban’s bunch had grown complacent.

Now, fresh off the Tide’s second BCS championship in three seasons, Saban said his team is looking to create their own legacy.

“We have guys on our team that have been on both of those past teams [2010 and 2011],” Saban said. “This team seems to be very much committed to creating an identity for themselves.”

Losing 13 starters from last year’s 12-1 team that defeated LSU 21-0 in the BCS National Championship Game, Saban emphasized how imperative it is for upperclassmen and newcomers alike to embrace their roles for the upcoming season.

“It’s a shared responsibility,” Saban said. “How the young players respond to that and accept the leadership and move in a direction that will create the type of team chemistry that will help you be successful.”

Senior Barrett Jones – last year’s Outland Award winner and a unanimous All-American – will move from right guard to center to anchor an offensive line that some call the best in the SEC.

The Memphis, Tenn. native echoed his head coach’s sentiments regarding the 2010 season.

“We know that if we have to, if anything, work harder this year than last year,” Jones said. “We have a lot of gus from that 2010 season and we all had a bad feeling from that season and we don’t want to feel that way again.”

Jones lauded former Dutchtown High School star Eddie Lacy as the premier back that will step in and replace Trent Richardson – the third overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, claiming he will be a household name by season’s end.

“He was banged up last year and didn’t get a chance to show what he can do,” Jones said. “He’s unique, a hard worker, and I’ve enjoyed playing with him.”

Saban also praised quarterback A.J. McCarron, citing the experience he got from last season’s regular season loss against LSU, followed by a career game in the BCS Championship, will pay dividends in the coming year.

“The experience you have at that position always makes you feel a little bit better,” Saban said. “A.J. had a really good spring.”

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