Handling the trappings of success will be one of Nick Saban's biggest challenges this season.
As the 2013 edition of the Alabama Crimson Tide enter the beginning stages of fall camp, one of Nick Saban’s biggest challenges will be keeping his club motivated for another title run.
Saban’s famed “process” has conquered many obstacles that have doomed college football’s previous dynasties.
After winning national championships in three of the last four seasons, next up on Saban’s to-do list is to identify and eliminate any signs of complacency in the Tide’s fall camp.
The added pressure of trying to make history by winning its third consecutive crystal football will be a dominant storyline throughout the season. Ironically, one of the most important steps in helping the program remain on top may be getting the players to forget about the accomplishments of past teams.
However, this is hardly unfamiliar territory for Saban and his program.
In 2010, Alabama returned a number of its stars from the unbeaten 2009 national title squad. The subsequent 10-3 campaign was marred by three losses, two of which came in games decided by fewer than seven points.
Conversely, the Tide were able to follow their 2011 title with another championship run last season. Alabama’s experience and championship mettle showed in comeback victories over LSU and Georgia, and more importantly, in the aftermath of the loss to Texas A&M.
Having a core group of veteran leaders such as quarterback AJ McCarron, offensive lineman Anthony Steen and linebacker C.J. Mosley gives Saban and his staff role models for the newcomers and underclassmen who will step into bigger roles.
The Tide’s offseason workouts are built to instill the proper mindset needed to begin the season, but fall camp will ultimately tell the coaches which players are ready to play consistently at a high level.
With the first two games against Virginia Tech in Atlanta and at No. 6 Texas A&M, the Tide will have to be ready to play at a high level from the get-go.
While the Tide start out as the clear preseason favorite to claim their 16th national title in school history, ensuring they have a chance to finish on top is a process that begins with displaying a championship level of focus in fall camp.