Target on their back

By Shane from Centerpoint
Now that the Crimson Tide has laid siege to Athens and totally destroyed the 3rd ranked Georgia Bulldogs a new challenge begins to surface, one totally unfamiliar to the recent Alabama football program. Instead of progressing along under the radar, the Tide now has to perform with a huge target on its back.

For years other SEC teams lead the charge and stole the limelight. Now the conference’s original “bell cow” carries a badge that has the potential to make or break the season.

Every team that Bama plays will be gunning for them harder than if the Tide had remained in the shadows.

Alabama will be their bowl game.

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Too many times prior to this year the phrase “Bama’s back” has surfaced only to crash down on the football program’s head in November.

However, this time around the situation is different – head coach Nick Saban is trying to ground this team. Want proof? Right after the Tide finished crushing the Bulldogs beneath their feet, Saban was on national TV chastising his squad for not maintaining consistency for four quarters.

Alabama players have stated how hard the coaches have been on them since last Saturday, reminding them about the Tulane game and what happens when they become complacent. The coaches are trying to help the Bama players realize that they must raise the level of intensity every game in order to win, regardless of the opponent.

Only time will tell if this Tide team has enough maturity to carry out the mission. The potential to fall in love with their accomplishments to date is always dangerous. Many pitfalls lie along the way.

This is the University of Alabama. Tradition allows team goals to be aimed at the national crown every year, yet since the turn of the century the idea of Bama actually obtaining a championship has been a joke. However, surprisingly, this year that goal is becoming a reality.

Nick Saban and his staff have formulated a championship personality within this team that is based on hard-nosed brutality along the lines of scrimmage, with intense execution from everyone else being the mantra.

The senior leadership on the team is limited. Juniors and red-shirt sophomores are required to step up because, in spite of recent success, this team is literally one of the youngest in the nation. Youthful football teams are usually easily distracted. Alabama’s success so far is a testament to solid coaching by Saban and his staff.

The Tide’s success this football season lies squarely on the backs of the players. For the first time in years, Alabama controls its own destiny.

The people who watch football for a living have seen this team and they know how good it can be. Whether Alabama reaches the top of the heap will depend on its ability to raise the level of performance every week.

One thing is for sure – if this team stays focused and plays to its potential – it will be very hard to beat.

Finally, the Alabama Crimson Tide is ahead of schedule in the “process” – and the process seems to be for real. Barring any slips along the way, the Tide stands to win it all. Does that sound familiar? Is “Bama back”? Time will tell.

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