HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban said his leg was shaking today at SEC Media Days, signaling the start of college football season and the end of his summer vacation.
Alabama once again found themselves in the College Football Playoff in 2018, something they’ve done each year since the new format was introduced in 2014.
Last year however had an unfavorable outcome as they fell to the Clemson Tigers in the National Championship 44-16, finishing the season at 14-1.
“I think that our players learned a lot from that experience,” Saban said. “I think that we didn’t play with the discipline at the end of the season that we’d like to have as a team. I don’t think that our preparation…was what it needed to be.”
Saban enters his 13th season as head coach of the Tide and will once again be the favorite to compete for the title in 2019. More impressive though maybe the fact that after having hip surgery in the offseason, he was back to walking in just 36 hours.
Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy will likely have another huge year as the number one target for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Saban said Jeudy is known for his big plays and. of course, winning awards. Jeudy won the Fred Biletnikoff Award in 2018 for the country’s best receiver.
Jeudy is a critical part to arguably the best receiving corps in the country. But Jeudy says the receivers, dubbed the “Ride Outs,” aren’t satisfied with last season.
“We had a great season last year, but there’s always things you can improve on.” Jeudy said.
Jeudy recorded 14 touchdowns, 68 receptions and over 1,300 yards a season ago.
Speaking of Tagovailoa, he too will be expected to improve on an impressive 2018 campaign. After finishing second in the Heisman Trophy race to former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray last season, Tagovailoa is already projected to take home the award this season along with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.
Saban said although Tagovailoa had a great year, there is plenty the junior can improve on.
“Tua is a great competitor so he’s going to try to make a great play every play,” Saban said. “And sometimes those things have worked out extremely well. And other times they’ve led to some disasters.”
Tagovailoa threw for nearly 4,000 yards and had 48 total touchdowns in 2018.
Despite what fans may have thought about last season’s national championship, Tagovailoa said the loss was more helpful than harmful.
“When you win, it’s a great feeling, but when you lose, it isn’t a great feeling,” Tagovailoa said. “I think it was good that we lost because what can you learn if you keep winning?”
Another returning member for the Tide is junior linebacker Dylan Moses. Moses was an All-SEC second-teamer last season as well as a Butkus Award finalist, which is given to the country’s best linebacker.
Saban called Moses the “focus of our defense last season” and will likely be again this year as the leader of both the linebackers and entire defense.
“I’m a perfectionist, I want things done the right way,” Moses said. “Whatever happens this year to the defense…it’s on me.”
Moses racked up 86 tackles and 3.5 sacks last season.
Most of the members of Alabama discussed the need to improve. Improving on a 14-1 season and national championship berth is a scary thought for opponents this year.
The Crimson Tide kick off 2019 against Duke August 31 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic.