Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Thousands Pack Bryant-Denny for National Title Celebration

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Thousands Pack Bryant-Denny for National Title Celebration

Article excerpt

TUSCALOOSA | Nearly two years ago to the day, Nick Saban told a BCS celebration crowd: "This isn't the end. This is the beginning."

Indeed, it was.

With inclement morning weather lifting in time for the University of Alabama's official celebration of the BCS national championship Saturday, Saban took the microphone once again to address thousands of fans who nearly filled the lower bowl on the West side of Bryant- Denny Stadium.

But this time, it felt like more of an encore.

"I've never coached a team that was more determined, more dedicated to overcome the adversity created by the first loss to LSU, than this group of guys," Saban said. "They were so focused, worked so hard, and I have never seen a more dominant performance than what they had in the championship game. ... I absolutely love this team and what they were able to accomplish."

Alabama defeated LSU 21-0 in the Superdome on Jan. 9 for the 14th national title in program history, just two years after Saban led UA to a 37-21 BCS National Championship Game win over Texas in Pasadena, Calif. At Saturday's celebration, Saban and his coaching staff were joined by players as well as Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, UA Director of Athletics Mal Moore, and UA President Dr. Robert Witt on a seated platform at midfield.

"You dream of stuff like this. Some dreams aren't even this big," said running back Trent Richardson, who will enter the NFL Draft in April. "When stuff like this happens, it's incredible. It tells you about the program we have here, and the confidence we have built here, the dynasty we're still building. We're not done yet. ... The best coaching you're going to get, right here in Tuscaloosa."

Saban said he was especially proud of the team's Disney Spirit Award, which it won for its efforts in assisting Tuscaloosa's recovery from a devastating tornado on April 27 last year. Among other acts of service, the team helped clear debris in the wake of the storm, and linebacker Courtney Upshaw raised nearly $20,000 in relief funds from his hometown of Eufaula. …

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