Business as usual for Alabama

AP: Saban didn’t rail against the dangers of complacency. Instead, he praised the “great camps” of stars such as receiver Julio Jones, left tackle James Carpenter and running backs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. And the “very good” ones of linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Mark Barron.

“A lot of the players that have been there show no signs of not paying attention to detail, not working to improve,” Saban said. “I think the bigger concern is the maturity of the guys who haven’t had the responsibility to this point, how they’re going to respond to it. I’m sure that there will be a maturing process that goes with their first game. How much they learn and grow from it is probably going to determine how quickly we can improve.”

Well, sure. But how about all the pressure, the hype, that comes with being No. 1 — even if it is only August?

“We don’t pay attention to that,” said Ingram, the Heisman Trophy winner. “No. 1 doesn’t mean anything, because everybody’s 0-0. If you win games, you’re going to be successful. You know? No. 1 really doesn’t mean anything around here. We just focus on every single week, preparing the right way, getting our gameplan together.”

Sounds kind of humdrum.

Even though Alabama enters a season atop the rankings for the first time since the Bear Bryant era in 1978, most of the current players have been here before. They spent all last season in the top five, and went 14-0.

They spent more than a month ranked No. 1 in 2008 before stumbling in the SEC championship game.

The Tide’s record in those two seasons: 26-2.

“Our expectations for our own team are so high now,” quarterback Greg McElroy said. “Obviously we just demand a lot of ourselves. We demand a lot in our preparation and we expect a lot from this team. I think for us to expect anything less than great things from this team obviously would be unimpressive. We’re really looking forward to the opportunity to go out there and compete again. I think this team has made the improvements necessary to really be a complete football team and be able to dominate Saturdays like we know how to.” (Below you can read the entire AP report)