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Saban: This Alabama championship team special
The business of celebrating Alabama’s second national championship in three years disrupted the morning routine for a coach who makes a habit of, well, habits. He didn’t seem to mind.
“I couldn’t get people out of my room until 3,” Saban said at Tuesday’s morning-after news conference. “I haven’t been up till 3 for a long time. I actually got up just in time to get here, so we missed it today.”
When it comes to another habit _ winning championships _ the forecast for Alabama remains sunny.
The 60-year-old Saban took the time to praise his team’s execution _ of the celebratory dousing after a dominant 21-0 win over LSU. He made it clear he’s still got the passion to stick around the sideline awhile. And, of course, he turned his attention to next season when the Crimson Tide might once again have a top-five team.
Saban acknowledged he might have savored this one a little more, as evidenced by his unrestrained smiles after the game.
“To be honest with you, I think I maybe did,” he said. “This team was a special team _ not that the 2009 team was any different. And certainly an honor and a privilege to be with a group that made the kind of commitment that you look for from a competitive character standpoint and intangibles that you always strive to try to get as a coach.
“It was a really special group.”
The team and the Tuscaloosa community rallied following a deadly April tornado. Alabama didn’t miss a beat after losing four NFL first-round draft picks. And quarterback AJ McCarron seamlessly replaced Greg McElroy.
The juggernaut program has now won 48 games in the past four seasons. Which makes this 12-1 team just average by the current stratospheric expectations.
Saban gave what might end up being a farewell tribute to Richardson without even being asked. Richardson broke Mark Ingram’s 2-year-old school rushing mark with 1,679 yards and ran for 21 touchdowns, second only to Tim Tebow’s 23 in Southeastern Conference history.
“I always use the analogy that you really can’t be a great player unless you affect somebody on your team,” the coach said. “Players make plays. Good players affect somebody on their team. Great players affect their entire unit.
“And Trent’s competitive spirit certainly affected everybody on our team.”
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