By Dennis Washington
HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - Alabama head football coach Nick Saban was the star of the hour Wednesday at SEC Media Days.
Coach Saban arrived at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, the site of the Southeastern Conference's annual football gathering, and was immediately greeted by hundreds of fans, both inside and outside the hotel, seeking pictures and autographs.
Saban signed autographs for about 15 minutes before heading upstairs to talk with reporters about the upcoming football season. He began by encouraging reporters to talk only about the upcoming season, not the past national championship season.
"Is it 2010? Am I right about that? Because everything I kind of hear has always been about last year. So I'm going to make sure that we're going to talk about this year relative to our team," Saban said.
Saban did say last year's national championship team has helped this year's team prepare.
"Certainly that team had something to do with our current team understanding the formula for success and what it takes in terms of focusing on the process of what it takes to be successful in terms of work ethic and positive energy and attitude, everybody being responsible and accountable for what they need to do to be successful, how important team chemistry is, and confidence, what it takes, self-imposed limitations that sometimes you can shed when you are able to accomplish something even beyond what you thought you might," Saban said.
Saban admitted it will be difficult to repeat as national champions.
"It's more difficult to focus on the process of what it takes to being successful when you're coming off of success. That's certainly going to be the challenge for our team, our players' willingness to focus on doing the right things, the things that are necessary," Saban said.
Saban said even if he had the same players as he did last year, the result may not be the same.
"I watched a cooking show the other day with a guy on TV showing you how to cook. Let me just say, I put all the same ingredients in my pot as he put in his, and what came out of the oven is not the same as what came out of his oven," Saban said.
Saban also addressed the NCAA investigation surrounding Marcell Dareus and several dozen other football players from around the country, denying rumours that Dareus had been dismissed from the team.
"Our compliance people are looking into it in conjunction with the NCAA. We're not really going to make any comments, nor do we have any information that he did anything wrong or he didn't do anything wrong. But we're going to find out with the due diligence that we look for," Saban said.
Also joining Saban at SEC Media Days was Linebacker Dont'a Hightower, Quarterback Greg McElroy, and Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.
Fall practice for the Alabama Crimson Tide begins August 5. Alabama's first game will be against San Jose State on Sept. 4.
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