Nick Saban made it clear this offseason and in years past that a team which looks to its prior accomplishments rather than creating its own identity will struggle to maintain a high level of success. That complacency plagued previous teams, and it will be the same challenge facing the 2016 Alabama Crimson Tide.

How will the team respond to winning the College Football Playoff Championship in January? Senior tight end O.J. Howard thinks this team is ready to compete.

"When coach says 'buys in' everybody is taking that challenge to the next step," Howard said. "The first day everybody had a little jitters, but I see it now. Everybody is picking it up. We're buying in and doing a great job with it."

Howard, who earned offensive MVP honors in the national championship game, identified himself, Cooper Bateman, and Brandon Greene as some of the offensive players who have stepped into a leadership position in the locker room.

"Leadership is a big role for us this year. Leadership has been positive for us, even in the summer when the coaches weren't able to be out there with us, and it's just taken over in fall camp right now."

On the field, Alabama still needs to find its starting quarterback. Four guys have been competing for the position, but the competition remains wide open. Howard said he's primarily been focused on working on timing with each quarterback and trying to earn their trust.

"It's just mostly timing. Each guy has a different release so you have to get timing down with each quarterback."

The Crimson Tide held its first of two practices on Tuesday. The team will return to the field later this evening.