Expectations are high for the Alabama Crimson Tide this year.
And the team's freshmen have a lot to do with that.
Coach Nick Saban's most recent recruiting class was considered by many experts the best in the country, and with the Tide's season opener against Clemson now just a week away, most college football watchers are expecting big things from the Alabama freshman. That's especially true of wide receiver Julio Jones, who, according to reports, been very impressive in preseason camp.
To hear some tell it, Jones and his classmates -- as many as a half-dozen of whom may win starting jobs this season -- are bound for superstardom.
But Saban is doing what he can to temper the expectations.
He told the Montgomery Advertiser this week that the youngsters haven't proven anything yet -- and that the pressure they're facing is somewhat unfair.
"We make guys around here stars before they go and do anything," Saban said. "That's not good for them, it's not good for expectations, it's not good for anything. They need to go prove they can do it on the field. And when they go do it on the field, then you ought to write about them -- a lot. Put them on the front page if you want do. But just speculating about what they might be, I don't know about that."
Photo: Alabama coach Nick Saban says expectations might be too high for some of his freshmen. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)