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Bama players motivated by sour ending to season

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 17, 2014 at 4:33 pm •  Published: July 17, 2014
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HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Alabama receiver Amari Cooper has been through the offseasons filled with talk of repeat national championships, and now he's endured one that began with sour memories not celebratory confetti showers.

Cooper has no doubt which is more motivating.

"The losses," he said Thursday. "It humbles you and it makes you hungry and aware of how losing feels, and you don't want to feel that way again."

The Crimson Tide was once again declared the Southeastern Conference favorite in media voting at the league's media days, and is regarded as one of the likely national contenders.

That's nothing new.

Nevertheless, the mood has been as different as the memories. Alabama was roughed up by Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl and that came after Auburn's 109-yard return of a missed field goal on the Iron Bowl's final play, which has seemed to Landon Collins to be on an endless loop ever since.

"It shows on TV every day," the Tide safety said. "It beats in our heart every day. I get sick. I have to turn it off."

The unhappy ending to last season left coach Nick Saban's concerns less about complacency and more about getting back to doing what led to three national titles in four years. As he put it, players and coaches must "check your ego at the door."

Alabama is still seeking a replacement to quarterback AJ McCarron, a race that has come down to Blake Sims and Florida State transfer Jake Coker. Plus the latest crop to leave for the NFL must be replaced.

"We're basically an unproven team in some areas," Saban said. "There's a lot of question marks because of the players that we lost and the players that we have coming in."

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