National championship or not, Saban has not varied from midseason form as he began his discussion with some 30 members of the media with an immediate downplaying of last season's success.
"We have the same record as everybody right now," Saban said. "What we have accomplished in the past will not affect what we do in the future. We cannot look back now. It is a challenge to deal with success; it is a challenge to deal with failure."
One of the hottest subjects of the day was, of course, the quarterback race. Saban stressed senior Marcus Randall enters the spring with the most experience. Although he bristled mildly at the talk of who is the starter and shuddered at the hint of a depth chart, Randall seems to be the No. 1 guy right now.
"I hate to disappoint all of you, but it is what happens on the field not in the this room," said Saban about the brewing battle for the starting quarterback position. "But when we know, you'll (the media) be the first to know."
A light-hearted Saban turned to the great stone face when the line of questioning remained on the quarterback situation.
"We have 20 practices in the spring," he said. "And we have roughly 29 practices in August. If my hillbilly math is correct, that is 49 practices between now and the start of the season. No matter how many times I say it, I am sure I will be asked the same questions about the quarterback spot 49 times."
For those who have been living under a rock, Randall is the veteran player at the quarterback position. However, hot-shot redshirt freshmen Jamarcus Russell and Matt Flynn will push Randall through the course of spring and August practice.
"Marcus is the most experienced," Saban said. "But all that means is someone has to line up first. The depth chart is not important in the spring. You don't really even need one."
Like always, Saban said he will use spring practice as a time to develop and experiment with several players at a variety of positions. For instance, Saban eluded to the fact he will shuffle folks around and get a look at several different players in different spots.
"This is much like when Michael Clayton played defensive back for us last spring," Saban said. "But we NEVER moved Michael to defensive back. This is the same type of thing."
Although he did not elaborate on the particulars, possible experiments include Corey Webster and Ronnie Prude seeing some snaps at wide receiver. Joseph Addai and Shyrone Carey exploring other offensive options and the development of a new punter.
"This is a situation similar to that of Michael Clayton playing safety," Saban said. "We have guys practice and prepare for situations that they may never experience in a game. Michael only played safety in a game twice, in the Cotton Bowl and at Arizona, but he had the knowledge."
Saban also said they intend to work with as many new players and redshirt freshman as possible before the entire new recruiting class reports in the fall.
"We want to develop as many young players as possible," Saban said. "We want to look at some players who played special teams last year at some particular positions."
Check back to TigerRag.com during the week for a further breakdown of Saban's chat with the media.