Alabama Football: Looking for clues about the 2012 Crimson Tide? Start with leadership

What do you think is the most important thing for this year’s Alabama team to do in order to challenge for the SEC and National Championships? Share your thoughts in the comment section for a chance to win a copy of the book: Always A Crimson Tide: Players, Coaches, and Fans Share Their Passion for Alabama Football.

Want to forecast if the 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide will look more like the 2010 or 2011 version of the team, then we should delve into some clues from Spring Practice.

A good place to start is looking back at what went wrong in 2010.

Tony Barnhart supplied a couple of great quotes that illustrated the problem—an entitlement mentality and the lack of leadership to deal with it.

From Barnhart’s story on Alabama, “But you could feel there was something wrong as early as the spring [of 2010],” said Square. “Practices were very sloppy. Nobody wanted to step up or say anything. Nobody wanted the responsibility of being a leader. They would just pass it off.”

There is one very good sign about the 2012 team. Quarterback A.J. McCarron sounds like someone who has learned from his own time in Coach Nick Saban’s doghouse; McCarron sounds ready to lead and hold players accountable.

A.J. McCarron the leader
On Monday, A.J. McCarron was asked how he felt about the team following the first scrimmage of Spring Practice. His response was an important sign that he will not accept an entitlement mentality on his offense.

“I’m not satisfied by any means, but I know we have a bunch of young guys,” McCarron said. “It is going to take some time. Like Coach (Saban) always says, ‘It is a process.’ We just have to keep working to get better.”

McCarron identified studying the playbook as an important task for players to do at this time of the season. His point is that to be good, you have to work. It won’t be as easy for new players to perform was it as at their last stop—high school football.

“This isn’t high school anymore,” McCarron said. “You’ve got to get into the playbook, learn the system and be ready to play.”

McCarron praised the young receivers. “They have all done a good job so far,” McCarron said. However, he also took that question as a chance to send a message to everyone about the process.

“The bad thing about it is that a lot of guys come in here hoping or kind of thinking that it is going to be given to them, and that they should be thrown in there with the ones,” McCarron said. “We just have to get everybody to be part of the process. It is going to take time. The more you learn your stuff, the better chance you have of getting on the field.”

McCarron talks like a leader, and with his play in the BCS National Championship Game there is no question this is his offense.

This is one great sign about the 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide.


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  1. 1
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  2. 2

    Get the secondary fixed. The Arkansas and South Carolina games showed the need for experienced defensivebacks. My opinion is that is the most important.

  3. 3

    Compared to the 2010 team coming off of the 2009 NC, I think this team has a lot of players who were young, and lived through the mistakes that were made and these are the players that are leaders of this years team.

    In 2010, the secondary had to be rebuilt with new guys, and that will not be the case this season. The offense is primed to be as good or better as it has ever been under Saban. With the recruiting at a high level, there is plenty of young talent, mixed in with JUCO transfers on defense and veteran backups that played a lot last season. If this team can avoid some of the same mistakes the 2010 team made coming off of the NC, I don’t see much of a drop off from last season. I know it will be difficult to match what the defense last season was able to accomplish, this seasons version will still possibly be a top 5 defense. No one has recruited better and as consistent as Saban the past 4 years, and his development of top talent to the NFL is unequaled as well.

  4. 4
    Rogue Elephant

    Bama was a young team in ’10, and while there was plenty of talent to go around, several players were also inexperienced.
    To me, the biggest thing lacking was maturity: a willingness to step up and hold your teammates accountable.
    That comes with self confidence and knowing the playbook.
    Players like Julio and Trent led by example, from the minute they put on that crimson jersey, because they were willing to take some personal responsibility and do what it took to be successful both on and off the field.
    But it takes more than just a couple of players to lead a team to greatness.
    Enough of ’em have to be on the same page until they develop an infectious “We won’t be denied” mentality.
    Hopefully, enough of that is going around this year to get the job done.
    At least some players are aware of the problems that cost the Tide some games in ’10 and they’re trying to deal with it early.
    Sounds good so far.

  5. 5

    And I think they will deal with the problem early. I am glad A.J. said what he did about his receivers. I have watched many of the “clips” when they were in HS. They made really,really good catches. I beleive there were a few guys that walked on at the Capstone for Spring drills. ID like to know who they were.Am I wrong about this?? RTR

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