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July 19, 2012HOOVER | Much like his LSU counterpart Les Miles, Alabama coach Nick Saban has moved beyond the BCS Championship season his team had in 2011.
For Saban, the experience of success can lead to one of two things. The first is that it can lead to an increased drive for excellence. The second is that it will lead to a complacent team.
Alabama, who experienced a post-championship hangover in 2010, is looking to avoid that complacency in 2012. The Tide, like in 2010, is expected to make another run at a Southeastern Conference championship and national title. Alabama is also returning a team that led the nation in every statistical category on defense, and is returning players at key positions on the offense.
For Saban, it's imperative his team avoid that complacency.
"It's human nature to relax," Saban said. "We've obviously learned a lot about Alabama over the last five years. The most important thing is, you have to stay on top of the little things. Things don't happen by accident."
Still, Saban said his team has done a better job of focusing on the upcoming season, rather than the previous one. This team is comprised of players who experienced both the 2009 and 2010 seasons, something Saban said will help this team avoid relaxing in the future.
"This team seems to be less affected by the previous year," Saban said. "They're not really the 2010 team, they're not really the 2011 team. And we've got guys who've been on both of those past teams. This team seems to be very much committed to making an identity for themselves."
New players, and even old players in new roles, will also have to contribute to make this a successful season.
"Everybody has a new role, and everybody has new opportunities," Saban said. "And this is their opportunity to make this their team. So everybody embracing their new roles, is very, very important to have a team that reaches their full potential."
And while this team is focusing on the 2012 season, only time will tell how how they are defined.
"I think this 2012 team will be defined by what they do," Saban said. "What we do, not what we've done. And we're looking forward to the challenges of the 2012 season."