TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WCBI Sports) – Some college football teams use the preseason to bring their players up to speed on new schemes or coaching philosophies that will change for the upcoming season.
The elite few have very little to fix. For Alabama, it’s about continuing to improve and developing its younger players.
It was fan day in Tuscaloosa Sunday. A few thousand Crimson Tide faithful came out to Bryant-Denny Stadium for day three of practice.
Bama is the overwhelming choice as the #1 team in the preseason polls after back-to-back nation championships.
The team wants to make its own mark on college football. Head coach Nick Saban reminding everyone that the past doesn’t guarantee the future.
“What’s been accomplished in the past really has nothing to do with what this team does it’s all about the identity you create for yourself by what you achieve and what you do but there’s two things that you have to prove,” Saban said. “You have to prove that you can play at a high level, but you also have to prove that you can sustain a high level of performance over time.”
Alabama has been able to win even with inexperience. Saban said there’s a focus on getting those young players ready once more.
“It’s just building the maturity and mental toughness to be able to sustain it and that’s part of the development of every player,” Saban said. “The older players can do it because they’ve been through it before and understand it and it’s a process that the younger players have to go through so that they can develop those qualities and characteristics.”
Do the Crimson Tide have weaknesses? Three offensive linemen depart for the NFL. Saban said the O-line isn’t where he wants it to be quite yet. But the strengths are obvious and numerous: the offensive skill positions and most of the front seven defensively. The players say they aren’t changing any part of their mentality.
“We’ve got different guys and different players,” senior quarterback AJ McCarron said. “That’s about it, same message, same goals, so the only thing that’s different is this team has a chance to win three.”
“It’s the same thing,” sophomore wide receiver Amari Cooper said. “We won last year so of course we want to do some of the same things that helped us win a national championship last year.”
“New faces out there, new leaders out there, this is going good for us right now,” sophomore running back TJ Yeldon said. “We’ve only been through two practices right now. The younger guys just came up with us yesterday.”
“It’s really just business as usual for me,” senior wide receiver Kenny Bell said. “I’m just coming out here every day working on my craft, trying to get better every day because, like I said, it’s my last year, so I just come out here and work every day and make sure I’m a teacher of the game and make sure that I come out ready when the season starts.”