Next For Saban Is ‘Back To Work'

The celebration is underway! Don't blink, or you might miss it. Alabama Coach Nick Saban has put himself in rarified air. He has coached four national championship teams. He has coached back-to-back national champions. He has coached national champions three of the past four years.

So how long will he enjoy it?

Alabama defeated Notre Dame by a 42-14 margin at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., Monday night. The win gave Alabama the 2012 national championship. It was the second consecutive year the Tide had defeated a previously undefeated and number one ranked opponent. It was the Tide's third title in four years.

"Well," Saban explained following the game, "we kind of have a 24-hour rule. Wednesday we have to go to work. People have to make decisions about their future.

"We need to get our players moving in the right direction. We start school on Wednesday. It's on-going. You know, we have a lot of people in our program who are very supportive of our players, and I want to make sure that we continue to be supportive of the players and that they do the right thing.

"Just because we won the national championship doesn't mean you don't have to go do the right things the right way at the right time like you're always supposed to, whether it's school, being a good person, whatever it is. This does not entitle you not to do the right thing. So we're going to help them do that starting Wednesday."

Saban is universally recognized as one of the finest coaches in college football history. Following his third national championship at Alabama and fourth overall, he was asked if he allowed himself to reflect on his Crimson Tide career from an historical perspective.

"Not really," he said. "I'm happy for this team. I'm happy for our fans. I think a lot of people are responsible for the things that we were able to accomplish. I've talked about it and talked about it, the university community, our president, our chancellor, our athletics director. We've got great fans, we have great players. I mean, every player that's played for Alabama for the last six years since I've been there all deserve a lot of credit for this, and a lot of those guys came to Alabama when we weren't any good. I was getting killed down here. My credibility wasn't much.

"So they believed in the program and believed in what we could accomplish, and because those players chose to come to Alabama, we've had a lot of success. We've had a lot of really good players that are really good people. We have a very good graduation rate, and we have guys that represent our institution, their families and themselves in a first-class way, and I'm really proud of that."

Saban is just the third college coach to win three national championships in four years. What waits a year from now is the opportunity to win three in a row.

Will Saban ever appreciate that what he has done is special?

"I think it's pretty special," he admitted. "What we've accomplished, what the players accomplished, what the coaches accomplished, I think it's really special. And one of these days when I'm sitting on the side of a hill watching the stream go by, I'll probably figure it out even more.

"But what about next year's team? You've got to think about that, too," he said.

Saban was asked about going for four of five. Nobody has ever done that.

"I'm not ready to go there yet, Saban saud, "Give me 24 hours on this one. (That brought a laugh.)
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