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Alabama Football Looks to Maintain Focus, Avoid Complacency After Win at Mississippi State

After a bounce-back victory against the Bulldogs, the Crimson Tide isn't looking to take the foot off of the pedal any time soon.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — We've seen it all happen before.

After a big win to get a team back on track, time and time again the next week's game displays a drop off in execution, focus and motivation. This week, Alabama football looks to avoid that very thing.

Following the team's loss at Texas A&M on Oct. 9, a renewed sense of focus and energy seemed to emanate from the program. The result? A 49-9 shellacking of Mississippi State last Saturday that put the Crimson Tide right back into the title conversation.

That being said, it's not too difficult to find motivation for a program after a loss. Finding that same motivation and maintaining intensity following a win, though? That can prove to be a much more arduous task.

On Monday, Alabama coach Nick Saban addressed the media for the first time this week ahead of his team's game against Tennessee. One of the big things this week for Saban is to make his players maintain focus so the team avoids complacency.

"People like to put negative things that happened to them behind them," Saban said. "But I don’t think that’s what you want to do in sports. You want to remember what it feels like when you don’t have success and let that be a motivating factor for you to do the right things, especially when you did the right things and that helped you play better to become a part of who you are.

"If you really learn from the lesson, that’s what you would do."

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Soon after Saban, quarterback Bryce Young and defensive back Malachi Moore also took to the podium to speak with the media. Both players emphasized the same message as Saban: avoid complacency and correct the mistakes of last week despite the win.

Young finished his game in Starkville having completed 20-of-28 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns. With those kind of results against an SEC defense, it would understandably be easy to lay off of the gas.

According to Young, however, that's exactly what he doesn't want to do. Young referenced a solid week of practices after the loss at Texas A&M that contributed to the team's success last weekend, and he aims to repeat that process this week with his offense.

"[Maintaining intensity is] something that we always emphasize a lot," Young said. "Last week we definitely had a really good week of practice. We were locked in. We had that wake-up call and I think it showed. I think we did a lot of good things so that's really a big thing for us is to make sure that that's not just a one-week thing. Not just a reaction but for us to go back to making that the standard."

Tennessee enters this weekend's homecoming matchup at Alabama with an overall record of 4-3. Despite their record, though, the Volunteers look to have improved as the season has progressed under first-year head coach Josh Heupel.

Tennessee might have lost at Florida and experienced a close loss against Ole Miss last weekend, but the Volunteers also beat South Carolina and Missouri in heavy-handed fashion. For Alabama, now is not the time to ease off of the accelerator.

According to Moore, avoiding complacency is exactly what this team aims to avoid this week.

"I just think we can't get complacent," Moore said. "I mean, we did a better job playing 60 minutes this past weekend but I feel like there were some things we still can improve on. [Mississippi State] had three field goals and things like that so I feel like it's just a work in progress each week."