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July 22, 2011

Expectations high for Alabama

Coming off the 2009 national championship, expectations were high for Alabama entering the 2010 season. Even though the Crimson Tide finished the season 10-3, capping the year with a 49-7 thrashing of Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl, many viewed the season as a disappointment.

Losing a 24-0 lead at home against Auburn, has made Alabama's motto: "Never again." The sign is placed in the locker room with the first half score on top and the final score on the bottom with a picture of former Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton.

Head coach Nick Saban said this season brings with it high expectations.

"We have a high standard at Alabama," Saban said. "I have high expectations for what this team may be able to achieve. We lost four guys to first-round draft picks at important positions.

"This team has the ingredients (to be successful), but that's always the challenge."

The quarterback competition continues with redshirt sophomore A.J. McCarron and redshirt freshman Phillip Sims. While many speculate McCarron will be the starter, Saban said that nothing has been decided.

"(The quarterback competition) doesn't stand anywhere," Saban said. "It's going to be who plays better in the game. Hopefully, we'll be able to give both an opportunity early in the season."

Junior running back Trent Richardson, a Preseason First-Team All-SEC selection, begins the season as Alabama's No. 1 offensive threat, filling the void left by former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.

"Trent has a great attitude and is a good person," Saban said. "I have no issue with Trent's ability to run the ball consistently."

Most polls and rankings have the Crimson Tide in top five, with media picking them to win the SEC this season. Saban doesn't care for rankings, and shared his discontent with the pre-season picks.

"Rankings me nothing," Saban said. "I'm glad you guys in the media can predict who's going to win what, because I sure can't.
"We have a lot of challenges if we're going to dominate the competition."



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