TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Nick Saban talking about leadership is nothing new. It's been a main theme of every team every season.
But he's come up with a new way to talk about it.
During the opening comments of his press conference on Wednesday evening, the Alabama coach had this to say:
“I mean one of the things that I think I’ve never really had to talk much about here because we’ve always been really good at this, but we’re talking about it now, is the players have to understand that you have to keep from getting beat before you can win. In other words, you can’t give the other team — because of your mental errors or lack of focus or discipline or ability to execute — opportunities. It’s like giving people extra outs in baseball. I mean eventually, somebody’s going to beat you. And the first thing you have to do is be able to go out there and execute and do things the right way, and that’ll keep you from getting beat. Then you’ll have a really good chance of being able to execute and being successful.
“I think leadership is something we’re trying to emphasize. I think having people on the team and players on the team that can really reinforce the principles and values of the program and the organization really benefits you to develop the kind of team chemistry that you need to have to have a championship team. And all the good teams that we’ve had around here, the teams that have won championships, we’ve had the kind of leadership that help people sustain through the tough times, and they demanded that everyone sort of adhere to the standard. It wasn’t just the coaches preaching that. So, I think that’s important, and it really makes it special when you have the best players on your team also the guys that are the best leaders. And that’s something that I’m hopeful we’ll be able to have on this year’s team and develop it even further to help us have a chance to be successful."
As for how the team has been practicing, Saban said he's been pleased so far.
Earlier Wednesday, linebacker Ale Kaho and tight end Kedrick James both returned to practice, and linebacker Ben Davis was walked around beforehand carrying black no-contact jersey (but wasn't on the field).
“Everybody’s back OK," he said. "From the spring, we don’t have any new injuries to talk about at this point. We’ll probably take it easy on some of the guys coming off the knees and so forth in spring practice and try to get them more ready for the fall.”