Saban Accepts Title Trophies

For those who hyperventilate over how many national championships Alabama "claims," let the record show that the Crimson Tide earned four more Monday night. And Tuesday morning they were presented to the Crimson Tide head football coach -- the second time in three years Bama has "claimed" the title.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban accepted four national championship trophies Tuesday after his team had dismantled previously number one ranked LSU in the BCS National Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Bama took a 21-0 decision and with it unanimous selection of the nation's best team.

The Crimson Tide now possesses the Coaches Trophy (a $30,000 crystal football) presented by the BCS; the Associated Press trophy, which has been awarded for 75 years and has been won by Bama eight times; the MacArthur Bowl presented by the National Football Foundation, and won by the Crimson Tide more than any othe team, six times; and the Grantland Rice Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America.

Saban called it "a great honor" to accept the trophies "on behalf of the entire team." He pointed out that a number of people contribute to Crimson Tide success, including University President Dr. Robert E. Witt and Crimson Tide Athletics Director Mal Moore.

Saban went back time and again in his Tuesday address to the "togetherness, the teamwork" of the Tide.

"This was a special team," he said, that "made the kind of commitment that you look for from a competitive character standpoint." He pointed to "togetherness, the positive attitude, the responsibility and accountability, ... the hard work and discipline that went into the development of this team."

A day after winning the 2011 national championship, Saban said that in looking ahead to next year "we're losing a lot of good football players. And we've got a lot of good young ones coming up and some good players coming back. But every year is a bit of a rebuilding year, and we'll certainly have a lot of opportunities for a lot of young players to make a contribution next year."

And as for those championship counters who might be wondering if the 60-year-old Saban -- who has won two title in the past three years -- might be losing his fire?

"What do you think?" Saban said. He pointed out that when Alabama got its only penalty of the game, an offsides on an LSU punt in the final minutes of the contest, "and you still coach your team like it's the first game of the season, what do you think. I mean, I'm a competitor."

He said that college football gives players an opportunity to be successful -- in athletics, but also in character building and academics and to be successful in the future.

"And we certainly still enjoy that, and really cherish the opportunity to be at a place like The University of Alabama where you can attract very good football players."

He also said that "winning the game is not enough. Doing it the right way, trying to set the right example for your players, and having people in the organization that are all trying to help and support these players to have an opportunity to be more successful in life."

Saban said he and his staff, particularly departing Offensive Coordinator Jim McElwain, had determined prior to the game that there would have to be more passing by sophomore quarterback A.J. McCarron. "If we were going to have success against an excellent LSU defense, we're going to have to throw the ball and we're going to have to trust the quarterback to do it."

Saban added, "I want everyone to know that I'm not conservative. I want to throw the ball all the time."

Asked about the shutout thrown by the defense, Saban gave credit to Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart. "People probably give me more credit than I deserve, and he should not be overshadowed because I'm a defensive coach," Saban said. "We do work well together. But he implements what we do. He contributes to the plan. He organizes it. He presents it to the players. The players respond well to him. He is a very bright guy and will make a great head coach some day."

Although Saban doesn't make comparisons, he said that the 2011 Alabama defense -- which led the nation in scoring defense, rushing defense, passing defense, pass defense efficiency, and total defense -- "probably was a cut above in a lot of ways, at least statistically."

And for the record: Alabama now has earned the national championship in 14 seasons.

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