- Associated Press - Monday, October 2, 2017

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama coach Nick Saban needs no help in avoiding complacency or overconfidence and wants to make sure his team doesn’t either.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) are fresh from the kind of back-to-back demolitions of league opponents that’s unheard of even for Saban & Co. Now, they’re 25½-point favorites heading to Texas A&M; (4-1, 2-0) on Saturday night.

No wonder Saban opened Monday’s news conference with these words: “Well, this is certainly not the time to relax or be satisfied.”

There’s no danger of Saban feeling overly relaxed or satisfied. He still managed to be a little grumpy after Saturday night’s 66-3 win over Mississippi , finding plenty of things ‘Bama could have done better.

The reality is the Tide haven’t been in a tight game since the third quarter of the opener with Florida State. Alabama has rampaged through its first two SEC opponents - Vanderbilt and Mississippi - by a combined score of 125-3. The total yardage chasm in those games: Alabama 1,290, opponents 331.

The 66 points were the most the Tide had scored in a game since 1979 and the first time they scored 50-plus in consecutive SEC games since 1945.

It’s the kind of circumstance when Saban seems likely to get more zeroed-in with his players, not less.

“I actually think after those, it makes him more intense,” linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton said. “He wants to see how we respond. Are you going to come to work Monday still hung over from Saturday’s game or are you going to come Monday like a grown man ready to work?”

Alabama clearly did the latter following a 59-0 victory over Vanderbilt . Now, the challenge is to follow up that kind of win again versus a tougher opponent.

Linebacker Anfernee Jennings said ‘Bama players firmly adhere to Saban’s 24-hour window for thinking about the last game.

“We celebrate the win for 24 hours and then we’re on to the next opponent and getting ready for them,” Jennings said.

Evidence of Alabama’s dominance litters the SEC stat sheets. The Tide lead the league in scoring offense, total offense and rushing offense. On the flip side, ‘Bama’s defense is tops in defending all those categories.

The Tide have scored at least 50 points in four of the last five SEC games. Saban said teams can find things even in nine-touchdown wins that they can learn from and improve on, enough at least to keep players from dwelling on them too much.

“I think it’s an individual thing. It’s a leader thing. It’s a coach thing,” he said. “Everybody understanding the challenges that we have and how we want to move forward and you can’t look back. We had 24 hours on the last game and it won’t have any impact or effect on the next game.

“We need to move on and everybody’s got to get psychologically and physically ready to execute and play good football and winning football in the next game.”

NOTES: Defensive end Da’Shawn Hand is “very doubtful for at least this game and maybe more” with an MCL sprain, Saban said. Hand was injured on a cut block against Ole Miss that Saban said was legal. … Defensive back/return man Trevon Diggs has a foot injury and Saban said he’s “very questionable” for the Texas A&M; game. … Walk-on cornerback Levi Wallace was the SEC defensive player of the week after making two interceptions and returning one 35 yards for a touchdown.


More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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