It may be spring, but don't tell Alabama coach Nick Saban that. It may as well be the day before the national championship game.
In the Crimson Tide's lackluster spring game on Saturday, the White team won, 17-14.
Saban voiced concern after the game, via USA Today:
I don't think we are where we need to be. I think too many people (are) too comfortable with their position. That, to me, does not lend itself to great competition or being a great competitor.
Alabama has won three national championships in the last four years. Some think it may be just the beginning for the program, but the Crimson Tide aren't even going to capture the SEC if they play with the fire (or lack thereof) that they did on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide have lost some key players from last season, including cornerback Dee Milliner, guard Chance Warmack, offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, running back Eddie Lacy, nose guard Jesse Williams and center Barrett Jones.
They've proven they can fill the holes in previous years (and having the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation for three consecutive years certainly helps), but the show of complacency on Saturday won't get them very far.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron went 19-of-30 for 223 yards and a touchdown on Saturday, but he also tossed two interceptions. The two offenses combined for six interceptions and three fumbles, according to the Associated Press, via SI.com.
It's not time to panic, but it is time for Alabama to start becoming more serious about its effort. When Saban says something, players listen.
Returning starters such as McCarron, T.J. Yeldon, Cyrus Kouandjio, C.J. Mosley, Deion Belue, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Nick Perry need to set the precedent for the rest of the team. Make no mistake, Saban wasn't just calling out the newbies on Saturday.
Alabama has won three of the last four national championships because it prepares like a champion. Talent isn't everything and Saban understands this.
The Crimson Tide certainly have time to get into a groove before the season starts, but more efforts like those in Saturday's spring game only push the team backward instead of forward.