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Scouting report: Alabama shrugs off preseason predictions
Tre Mason got to 1,000 yards for the season against Alabama last season (Todd Van Emst)

July 18, 2013

By Charles Goldberg

HOOVER, Ala. — Alabama won the national title last year, and coach Nick Saban is looking for a carryover this season.

Can the Tide repeat? Saban isn't saying.

"It's a challenge each year to re-invent your team," Saban said during Alabama's stop at SEC Media Days on Thursday.

The media predicted Alabama will win the SEC West and the conference title. Saban downplayed the poll, reminding the media that it has correctly predicted only four champions in the last 21 years. 

"If I was 4-17 as a coach, I'd be back in West Virginia pumping gas at my daddy's gas station," Saban said. 

Poll or not, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron said opponents will gear up for the Tide. 

"I know everybody will be targeting us," he said. 

McCarron led the nation in passing efficiency last year, passing for 30 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Does that make him steady? 

"Now, when they mention my name, 'Game Manager' is my middle name and then they mention my last name," he said. 

Alabama starts the season against Virginia Tech and Texas A&M. Alabama ends its regular season against Auburn on Nov. 30 in Jordan-Hare Stadium. 

Saban will face Gus Malzahn's fast-paced offense that day. 

"When people play fast," he said, "I think it takes defensive players out of their rhythm a little bit." 

Saban said the answer lies in practices. That seemed to work last season, he said, because "I think we got better as the year went on defending it."  

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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