Alabama coach Nick Saban said before his team's loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl in January that he detected a slip in its mindset and focus late in the 2013 season.
Saban believes a team's identity is forged during off-season conditioning and strength work, and he never felt like the 2013 team fully embraced it the way past teams had.
"I don't think our team, coming off beating Notre Dame a year before, ever did that a year ago," he said. "They were a little complacent, a little satisfied. Where we always prided ourselves in hard work, all the sudden we resented it."
This year, Saban said: "We probably don't have the talent in some positions we've had in the past, but this team has a much better attitude."
"Our fans think success is a continuum -- it's going to continue forever and ever," he said. "The problem is, it's just momentary. As soon as you put that trophy down, you have new challenges."
How do you meet those challenges? Saban said success is founded on three things: vision, commitment, and discipline.
His definition of discipline: "There's something you know you're supposed to do that you really don't want to do. Can you make yourself do it? Then there's something over there that you really shouldn't do, but you really want to do. Can you make yourself not do it? Those two decisions we have to make probably a couple hundred times a day.
"You have to have an ability to be where your feet are," he added. "Most people worry about what's going to happen in the future ... Be where your feet are. Focus on today."