Crimson Tide guarding against complacency

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

HOOVER, Ala. – Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn’t have to broach the subject of complacency with his players. The memories of 2010 are still fresh in the minds of those who went through it.
After winning the national title in 2009, the Crimson Tide went 10-3 and finished fourth in the SEC Western Division. They bounced back to claim another championship last season, so now the challenge is to not let 2010 repeat itself.
“It really doesn’t require him to have a conversation with us,” senior tight end Michael Williams said Thursday at SEC Media Days. “Most of us were on that 2010 team that after winning a national championship, we came back and saw what complacency does to you.
“So us as leaders, we took it upon ourselves to let people know that can’t happen again, and we’re doing everything to not let that happen again, and now we’re moving toward getting this season going.”
What does complacency look like to Williams?
“You’re not doing the things, basically, that you did to win the championship last year. You’re not practicing as hard, you’re not going to class, you’re not working hard in the weightroom, you’re not watching extra film because you think you know everything.”
Defensive lineman Damion Square, a senior, also has vivid recollections of 2010 and the “bad things” that were present. He said players have to “stop those things at the door of the facility, not let those things come in our building.
“We understand what type of team it takes to win a national championship, but you also have to work with what you’ve got.”
Determined Dooley
Entering his third season at Tennessee, Derek Dooley made some strong statements on Thursday about where his team stands in the SEC. In his first two years, Dooley has a record of 11-14.
“I know the SEC has enjoyed taking advantage of our tough times. But there’s a nice mood on our team right now that you’re not going to have Tennessee to kick around any more,” Dooley said.
The Volunteers went 5-7 last season while dealing with key injuries, including to quarterback Tyler Bray. That season has fueled speculation that Dooley’s job is on the line this fall.
“I don’t think he’s on the hot seat. I think the team’s on the hot seat,” Bray said. “Us as players, we haven’t gone out and executed the coaches’ game plans like we should have, and that’s why we’ve been losing.”
Richt on discipline
Georgia’s off-field issues have made a lot of headlines in recent years, most recently with tailback Isaiah Crowell’s arrest on weapons charges. He was dismissed from the team.
Cornerback Sanders Commings will serve a two-game suspension because of an arrest for domestic violence. Suspensions could also be forthcoming for Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo and Branden Smith, who have reportedly violated the school’s drug policy.
Richt was asked why these off-field issues keep happening.
“People are human. People make mistakes,” he said. “When they do, you discipline them. Some people have policies that bring certain things to light, and some people don’t.
“The bottom line is I love every guy on our team. Part of love is to be able to help teach them right from wrong, and when they make mistakes you discipline in hopes they become better men down the road.”
Media votes
The media’s preseason All-SEC team was released on Thursday. Mississippi State placed three players on the list, while Ole Miss had one.
For the Bulldogs, offensive lineman Gabe Jackson and cornerback Johnthan Banks were both named to the second team. Linebacker Cam Lawrence made the third team, and Banks did also as a specialist.
For the Rebels, safety Charles Sawyer made the third team.
The media also predicted order of finish, and it had MSU finishing sixth in the West and Ole Miss finishing seventh. LSU (Western) and Georgia (Eastern) were chosen as division winners.
brad.locke@journalinc.com