Alabama players won their second consecutive SEC championship less than 24 hours ago. Now, they don’t play another game for 25 days.
Nick Saban is a little worried about that second part.
Speaking on ESPN on Sunday afternoon, the Crimson Tide coach revealed the speech he planned on giving his players later in the day:
“Guys, you really should be happy and you should be excited about what you have been able to accomplish and winning the SEC championship. But now I have a question for you. What do you want to do now?”
Tide players will get more than a full week off before Cotton Bowl practices begin. Last year, that was a problem.
“I thought our team thought, ‘Well, we got in the Playoffs,'” Saban said. “‘This is a big reward for getting in the Playoffs. How come we’re working so hard?’”
The reason: Ohio State was waiting on the other side.
Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes came away with a convincing upset win over the Tide en route to the national championship.
This year, Michigan State will be the opponent on New Year’s Eve, by which time Alabama’s 10-game winning streak will be a distant memory.
“You have to kind of rekindle that momentum you had ending the season and get your team playing well again,” Saban said. “They have to be focused on that and understand how much hard work it really takes.”