Alabama’s arrival at SEC Media Days is always a highly anticipated event, but coming off a 44-16 loss to Clemson in the national title game in back in January has drawn even more attention to Saban’s time in Birmingham.
While talking with Paul Finebaum on SEC Network, Saban shared what he thought led the Crimson Tide to falter down the stretch, and in his opinion, it had a lot to do with distracted coaches.
Here’s the interesting exchange between Saban and Finebaum:
Saban: “When the season started, I think we were great. When we won the LSU game, it just seemed like people’s own agendas started to become more important.”
Finebaum: “Coaches or players?”
Saban: “Coaching. We had a lot of guys who wanted to be head coaches at different places. It takes a special person to stay focused on what they have to do now when they have somewhere else that’s awaiting them and they have a responsibility on staffs.”
“I’m not being critical of those people, It’s just very challenging, and we had a lot of that on our staff last year, and I think those relationships with players go a long way to keeping players where they need to be to do the things that need to do – continue to prepare, practice the way they need to practice so that they can continue to improve and get better, and we just didn’t do that very well at the end of last year.”
Saban, whose assistants are always highly sought after each off season after coaching under him – which we highlighted back in February, was also asked about the high rate of coaching turnover on his staff and if that could be because he might be a hard person to work for.
His answer was both lengthy, and telling.
“I don’t know. You have to ask some of the people that work for me. Always interesting that, you know, they may say that, but then when they get a job and they go do it, they do it exactly like we did it. So, I don’t know.
But we have a difficult job. We have 125 players on our team. They are all adolescents. They need a lot of support. They need a lot of direction. They need a lot of leadership.
Recruiting has become, you know, 24/7 because we’ve created a scenario where we have to recruit constantly because we’re recruiting guys in advance as we move up the recruiting calendar.
So none of this is easy, and, I think when you’re in a position of leadership and you’re trying to make people be accountable and responsible to a standard that’s going to help you continue to have success, that sometimes you have to make people do things that they really don’t want to do that may be in the best interest of the overall organization.
So am I willing to do that? Absolutely. So you have to make a choice and decision: You want to do it right, or you want to make everybody happy?
No different than raising your children. I go through this with Terry when we’re raising our kids. She wanted to make them happy, and I wanted to make them do right.
So I don’t know. I like for them to do right and be happy doing right. That’s what I’d like for them to do. That’s the same thing I like for our coaches.”
Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest from SEC Media Day and other noteworthy nuggets from other media day events going on around the country.