Nick Saban isn’t a man to forgive and forget. Just ask Florida.
In 2008, the Gators defeated Saban’s Alabama team in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
The Gators cruised to a national title afterwards, but last year ‘Bama beat UF down so bad it made Tim Tebow cry.
The Tide continued avenging the loss with another blowout of the Gators this year at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The Alabama coaching staff won’t let players forget a loss. They use it as fuel and inspiration for the players.
When the Crimson Tide lost in 2007 to Louisiana-Monroe, it was humiliating for the program, and the players heard about it every day from the coaching staff. There were posters and scores from the game in the locker room and on the practice field. It made everyone work harder and helped Alabama go undefeated in the regular season in 2008.
Unfortunately, after the Tide’s heartbreaking loss to Florida in 2008, ‘Bama took the Utah Utes for granted and was upset at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
As the nation laughed, the Tide went to work. In the weight room and on the practice field, they worked. Then they won the 2009 national championship.
The burn of the Utah loss has faded now, however. The Tide has found a new inspiration: a 35-21 humbling at the hands of South Carolina. USC didn’t use trickery to beat the Tide; they just went out and won in every aspect of the game.
After the game, ‘Bama QB Greg McElroy told USC QB Stephen Garcia that the Tide would see South Carolina again. Garcia thought that was a high compliment.
McElroy remained fired up after the game. "I'm a leader on this team," he said. "I'm as disappointed as anybody, but I see what this team is capable of. This team is capable of amazing, amazing things. We can still do everything we want to do."
Then he got a little fired up.
"Right now, it's a learning experience. I'm ready and willing to handle this challenge as an individual, and I promise I will do everything in my power to get these guys ready to go and put this loss in the rearview mirror."
This loss to South Carolina may be just what ‘Bama needed—a reminder that you can’t walk into a stadium and win any given day just because you’re Alabama. Championships are won through hard work, and I can guarantee you few teams are going to work as hard as Alabama for a while.