The sour stench of panic didn't linger in the air at the University of Alabama on Monday. Only a few crushed beer cans on the sidewalk were a reminder of the miserable weekend that was. Students still walked to class under massive oak trees. The line at Starbucks on campus was still interminably long. And, yes, pumpkin spice was still in stock. Across the street, Alpha Phi still said it "loves the Tide" according to the massive banner hung from the sorority house, written in swirly letters best described as modern farmhouse chic.

After the Crimson Tide's heartbreaking defeat to Tennessee, all was not lost. A billboard right off the interstate promoting a barbecue joint doubled as a rallying cry. Beside a picture of a pulled pork sandwich, the ad featured Alabama coach Nick Saban's slogan in all caps, "TRUST THE PROCESS."

Saban and the Tide have been here before. There were losses to LSU in 2011, Texas A&M in 2012, Ole Miss in 2015 and Auburn in 2017 that felt like omens of a dynasty in decline but instead were only hiccups on the way to more national championships. Many of the same players who waded through the field-storming Saturday in Knoxville, Tennessee, dealt with the exact same situation a year and a week earlier at Texas A&M; both games featured walk-off field goals and Tide players leaving in defeat. Alabama rebounded from that loss in College Station, beat Georgia to win the SEC and then lost to Georgia in the national title game.

Which is not to say that every situation is the same and everything is going to be OK this time around. This Alabama team might not be capable of reaching the College Football Playoff. It has issues that must be resolved first, whether it's undisciplined play in general or, more specifically, a struggling pass defense, receivers who can't get open and a mediocre offensive line. The Tide lead the FBS in both penalties (66) and drops (21).

When Saban met with the media at noon Monday, he didn't raise his voice or scream in defiance. Instead, he struck a dual tone, focusing on his team's room for improvement while taking a hard line that anyone not willing to put in the work will be in danger of riding the bench.

"This is something from the bottom up, all right?" Saban told reporters. "I mean, I'm talking about coaches, I'm talking about every player, I'm talking about me. We've all got to do a better job to help these guys learn from their mistakes, improve and get better."

Learning occurs best when you make a mistake, Saban later said, "but you have to take advantage of that."

At one point, Saban was asked about penalties -- a sore subject after his team committed 17 against Tennessee and 15 against Texas -- and audibly sighed. He can live with penalties that come from players being too aggressive, but mental mistakes like false starts and offsides are another matter. They're the result of bad habits created in practice, he said. And if players continue to make the same mistakes, then "maybe we need to play with someone else," he warned.