Especially coming off a national championship season.
Questions quickly turned from titles to troubles.
During Sec Media Days in Hoover, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban still made all his points as clear as the AFCA national championship trophy.
“One thing I do want to get established here is I want to make sure I’m in the right year,” said Saban. “I want to be in the moment here today. Is it 2010? Am I right about that? Because everything I kind of hear has always been about last year. So I’m going to make sure that we’re going to talk about this year relative to our team.”
Saban saved a few choice words concerning recent allegations amidst the conference last season and the improper contact by agents.
“I don’t think it’s anything but greed that’s creating it right now on behalf of the agents,” Saban ranted. “The agents that do this — and I hate to say this, but how are they any better than a pimp? I have no respect for people who do that to young people. None. How would you feel if they did it to your child?”
Three SEC teams — Florida, Alabama and South Carolina — are investigating allegations involving improper contact with an agent. Saban did confirm that Alabama is looking into a trip defensive end Marcell Dareus took to an agent’s party in South Beach, Miami.
Three other players from last year’s team joined Saban in representing Alabama at Media Days, including junior running back Mark Ingram, who claimed the Crimson Tide’s first ever Heisman trophy last year, as well as senior quarterback Greg McElroy and junior linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who’s returning from a season-ending knee injury.
Saban hopes the trio can help a few of his younger players remain focused on this year.
“We’ve had a good off-season. We had a good spring practice,” Saban added. “We had a good summer conditioning program. But I think really a lot is going to be answered about this team in this fall camp. You know, a realistic view of this team is that we lost 11 starters, a punter, a kicker, and a great return guy. So we lost a lot of good football players from last year’s team, which is going to create a lot of opportunity for some other young players who need to prove and show that they can play with consistency and performance.
“They don’t have the right habits. They don’t have the correct discipline to get the job done on a consistent basis. Those kinds of players usually affect your ability to be successful. So there are a lot of challenges on this team.”
Ingram agreed on the attitude Alabama — which opens practice on Aug. 5. — needs again this year.
“My focus is on this team and this football season. Anything else is irrelevant,” said Ingram.