Alabama's 'Don't waste a failure' mantra should frighten SEC foes

Friday, 14 Jul, 2017

Coach Saban was the rock star of the road show, explaining how he hoped his program would improve after losing to Clemson in last year's national championship game. Some things, though, still remain the same.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban signs an autograph for fans during the Southeastern Conference's annual media gathering, Wednesday, July 12, in Hoover, Alabama.

After all, the head coach had just come from his first news conference at SEC Media Days, where he praised Hurts for his improvement heading into his sophomore season.

Turn it into a self-help book, add on a hash tag and Crimson Tide roll with it.

Saban and Alabama almost won a fifth national title in eight years last January, a truly remarkable run in this era of college sports. "We're excited as coaches to help those guys develop and play the kind of football that will help them be successful".

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ed.

"I'd just say how relentless they were, how fast", he said.

Hard as it might be to grasp in Auburn, Alabama, or Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Crimson Tide are hurting still.

As a teacher, Greg is typically the one collecting phones from the "selfie generation", but this week he joined them, snapping pictures with everyone from Alabama's Bradley Bozeman to the SEC Commissioner. "They're right now at the top", said Florida's Jim McElwain, whose team has lost to Alabama by an average of 26 points in the past two SEC title games. They have great defensive minds. "It's like me saying (there's) going to be a hurricane outside today". "I can't explain the feeling in the household against, you know among all of us guys".

It won't surprise anyone if the topic is still front and center a year from now with teams still playing catch up. I think it's very challenging from a consistency standpoint in our league. "It really does", Fitzpatrick said.

Vanderbilt normally gets to escape Alabama.

"I think our team is more mature this year, we're stronger, we're deeper, we have more players we need to continue to do that".

I don't think there's any question that we all live and learn in this profession. "We try to do things that other people don't want to do or can't do". Look at his coaching resume: five national championships, seven SEC titles, 10 SEC West first-place finishes.

Alabama certainly hasn't had much failure lately as it relates to SEC competition — Saban and company have won 17 straight games in SEC play. "I can't give you the details and everything".

There are three new coaches on staff: Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, wide receivers coach Mike Locksley, special teams and tight ends coach Joe Pannunzio, who coached at Ole Miss on Tommy Tuberville's staffs.

"He's a great quarterback, but we were just putting so much pressure on him that sometimes he would just make a bad throw or he would think he was seeing something that wasn't there", Fitzpatrick said. This will be one of the youngest teams he's had since 2012, Saban says. "And I think there's a lot of lessons to learn, and hopefully we won't waste a failure".

The expectations are again national championship or bust for the Crimson Tide, who are still having to relive the heartbreak from January.

Title game against Clemson wasn't lost "on the last play but what led up to the last play".

Alabama returns a starting quarterback for the first time since 2013.

Nick Saban, who is entering his 11th season as coach in Tuscaloosa, said Wednesday that "everybody was hurt by" the 35-31 defeat in Tampa. In doing so he saw "things we didn't do that we should have been doing throughout the season".

Saban does one other radio interview, this one with a station out of Miami, and then it's up the hotel elevators - likely to a suite where he'll take a brief break and conduct a Q&A with his beat writers, something just about every coach does.