Crimson Tide on Parade

Nick Saban smiles at today's championship parade

Thousands of fans gathered on the Walk of Champions in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday to honor their back-to-back national champion Crimson Tide in a celebratory parade.

Alabama can't get enough of the crimson and white confetti showers.

From the field at Sun Life Stadium, where the Crimson Tide bathed in it after beating Notre Dame in this year's national championship game, to the Walk of Champions in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium, where the team was honored in a celebration Saturday afternoon.

The national championship parade began on the corner of 2nd Avenue and University Boulevard and ran through campus to the Walk of Champions at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The coaches and players arrived to thousands of screaming fans.

"I have never been more proud of any group I have ever coached than the players and coaches on this particular team," head coach Nick Saban said as he stepped up to the podium.

Saban, who has won four national titles (one at LSU and three at Alabama), said that to repeat and win back-to-back national championships is one of the most difficult things to do in any sport.

"Many times they say it's toughest to win your first championship," he said, "But really it's tougher to win the next one because every day when you try to repeat, it's a test of your will to just be the best that you can be."

The coach listed things like the chemistry and resiliency as reasons why the Tide was able to accomplish all it did this season.

"Understand that the true joy in that is the process of doing it together," Saban said. "To making a commitment two days after beating LSU for the national championship a year ago, working through the offseason, working through the summer program, going through the season one week at a time, one game at a time, to accomplish something special. That process is what these guys are going to remember. That's what I'm going to remember about this team. That it was special."

Center Barrett Jones, who had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his foot just days after the national championship, was the apparent valedictorian as he was elected to speak on behalf of the team.

"We reached our full potential," he said. "We always seem to be our best in crucial situations and most importantly, we saved the best for last. We finished strong."

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock was also in attendance and when he spoke, revealed that his sister is an Alabama graduate.

"And she taught me two words I'll never forget," he said. "Roll Tide."

As more confetti fell and fireworks were set off at the conclusion of the ceremony, highlights from the national championship played to the tune of Pitbull's "Don't Stop the Party" (a song which was appropriate for two reasons: everyone is wondering when Alabama's national championship party is going to end, and Pitbull is known as the "Mayor of Miami.").

And then, Alabama got back to work.

Other notes:

--Early enrollee five-star running back Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla.) participated in the parade, walking with his new teammates. Henry, who stands at 6-3, 241, towered over Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon.

--Linebacker C.J. Mosley wore a heavy-duty brace around his elbow and shoulder. .

--Wide receiver Kenny Bell, who broke his leg in the Auburn game, was walking fine and signed autographs. He was also caught throwing confetti at his teammates before leaving the stage. .

--Cornerback John Fulton looked like he just had surgery on his tuft toe as his right leg was in a cast and he had to support himself on crutches.




For more Alabama coverage, follow Laken Litman on Twitter!

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