A key college football buzzword was dropped by Nick Saban during an interview with ESPN’s Heather Dinich that aired on a March 29 edition of SportsCenter: discipline.
Saban agreed with Dinich’s characterization of how Alabama was undisciplined in 2022 before saying that he hoped the hirings of Tommy Rees and Kevin Steele as offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator, respectively, would change that.
“Oh, we’re Full Metal Jacket because we’re no doubt disappointed in the very things that you pointed out,” Saban said. “And I don’t disagree. As a coach, you’re always trying to get your team to play to their full potential, and I really don’t feel like maybe we got that done. You search for reasons, why and how can you fix it? We have two new coordinators, some new energy, new enthusiasm, new ideas are all beneficial. Hopefully they’ll help us get these guys to play with a little bit more discipline to be able to execute on a more consistent basis.”
The first chance Crimson Tide fans will get to see if the “D” word is once again a characteristic of Alabama football will be April 22 for A-Day.
Nick Saban on the Alabama Standard
Alabama’s standing as the standard bearer of college football has been much-discussed since Georgia won its second College Football Playoff National Championship following a historic beatdown of TCU on January 9. The Bulldogs personally unseated the Crimson Tide in the 2021 national championship after Alabama upset Georgia in the SEC Championship game weeks earlier, and over the course of the last year, UGA went unblemished while Alabama failed to make the SEC Championship in Atlanta for just the second time in the College Football Playoff era.
Saban discussed the “Alabama standard” with Dinich, noting that it’s hard to develop players knowing the expectation to win is there every game of every season.
“Anytime we don’t get into the national championship game, there’s a standard here that everybody sort of has an expectation,” Saban said. “We want our players to focus on what they need to do to get there, not the outcome, but what we have to do to get the outcome, and I think everybody in the organization is trying to figure out, ‘OK, how do we go about this in a way that’s going to help us get there.’ The players, the coaches and everybody in the organization because we have a high standard of what we want to accomplish, and what we want to do.”
Nick Saban Wants Alabama to ‘Do the Little Things’ in 2023
Saban’s primary message to his team and staff via the interview with Dinich was getting everyone to buy into doing the little things.
“We need to get everybody to buy into that and understand the importance of doing the little things that will help them get where they want to be and where we want to be,” he said to Dinich of his team.
The 2022 season came down to one poorly defended drive facing Hendon Hooker and the rest of Tennessee’s offense on October 15 and a singular 2-point conversion in overtime against LSU on November 5.