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Is the world OK with a mellow Nick Saban?

Nick Saban

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is a living legend in the sport of college football. With a handful of national championship rings, Saban has little to prove on the football field even as the game is evolving in a way he is not particularly fond of. Instead of worrying so much about on-field success, Saban says he has stepped back, become more mellow and focused more on the bigger picture for preparing his players for what is ahead of them.

“I think people got on me for being a little too tough, a little too difficult,” Saban said on ESPN‘s “Numbers Never Lie,” as reported by Al.com. “But I think over the years you learn that it’s not the emotional part of what you do with a player, but it’s more the lessons you can teach them. And I don’t think there’s anything emotional or getting angry about, none of it’s worth it.”

It is always easy to say things like this though when you have won and you happen to be the richest man in college football. I feel like that should be pointed out here.

“I’ve kinda mellowed out a little bit, but I think I’ve become a little bit of a teacher because of that as well.”

Saban has done well in making Alabama one of the top factories for NFL talent, and the chances of improving to become an NFL prospect is one of the reaosns some of the nation’s top high school players will continue to commit to Alabama. But Saban is saying what most coaches should agree with. There is a role for being a teacher that comes with being a coach. Saban has accepted that, and hopefully more coaches are with him in that thought.

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4 Responses to “Is the world OK with a mellow Nick Saban?”
  1. dhardy8207 says: Jul 23, 2014 1:59 PM

    I watched this segment and to be precise he stated that the mentality of players today has changed and with that comes the need to find different methods to not just help them develop their skills for the game but also the thought process for success after football. He has a record of helping players such as Rolando McClain who had all the talent necessary to succeed but became his own worst enemy mentally.

  2. fiverings37 says: Jul 23, 2014 3:45 PM

    the day he tries to be somebody different is the day he stop winning championships.

  3. Deb says: Jul 23, 2014 8:07 PM

    Time and experience have a way of “mellowing” everyone. As dhardy said, experience has helped Nick hone his skills for developing players of different temperaments. That’s what makes him such a good teacher–he’s learned to work to players’ unique strengths and weaknesses. But he’s not so mellow that he won’t call annoying reporters jackasses or turn purple and hop around the sidelines when provoked … thank goodness! I enjoy occasional sightings of the Rabid Chihuahua :)

  4. dcroz says: Jul 23, 2014 8:27 PM

    Time will tell whether Saban has indeed mellowed, but what he is saying sounds a lot like what took place with Bear Bryant’s personality from roughly 1968 to 1971. Bryant had also been the tough-as-nails, make-a-drill-instructor-look-soft kind of coach for most of his career up to that point, and was successful because the players he had up until then were products of the Great Depression and World War II who had undergone hardships and had to fight to survive. When the spoiled Baby Boomers started to arrive on campus and didn’t respond to Bryant’s tough discipline, Bear’s record suffered as a result, going from 11-0 in 1966 to 6-5-1 by 1970. Bryant changed his style to that of a grandfatherly figure who led more with caring and patience, and he rejuvenated his career. Saban has certainly not suffered that kind of falloff (though for him, not winning the national title in and of itself may be sufficient) but if he thinks that a kindlier approach will get him in Dallas in mid-January, then it will be interesting to see whether it does and what he looks like while doing it.

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