Friday kicked off the Tide's spring practice schedule, which will resume on Mar. 19 immediately following spring break.
Alex Scarborough (of ESPN.com) quotes Nico Johnson: "Having the young guys we do have, I thought we'd come out slow, but we came out with a lot of intensity throughout the whole day. I'm ready to see how it plays out."
Nico Johnson also said "we can't let that happen" in reference to the 2010 season's 10-3 performance.
All these quotes from people on the inside of the program give me one major thing: hope.
Hope for 2012, not that it will necessarily end in championship No.15, but that it will end with a group of men standing shoulder-to-shoulder beaming with pride about whatever it is that they will have accomplished in January 2013.
The seniors on the Tide squad, such as Nico Johnson, are making sure that the idea of entitlement does not creep up on the new kids.
Ostendorf's article (linked above) contains quite a few quotes that point out rookies that are already catching on to Saban's program.
So the question that remains unanswered is, "So what?"
Simply put, these quotes give fans a ray of hope that 2010 will not happen again, especially not in 2012. The Tide may lose three games, and may end up in the Capital One Bowl, but it will not be due to carelessness or lack of focus.
These little quotes serve as all the proof Tide fans need that 2012 will be a special year.
As Johnson said, "I'm ready to see how it plays out." The focus and intensity seem to already be there, and that's something the 2010 squad didn't gain until the Auburn debacle.
In my "5 Reasons to Be Optimistic in 2012" article, I predicted that the seniors would squash any attitude of entitlement coming from the younger team members. (Page 3.) Thanks to Johnson, my confidence has been validated.