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Nick Saban explains why he's developed a softer touch with players in recent years

"I don't think you need to yell and scream, a'ight, to get that point across," the former yeller and screamer said.

Nick Saban didn't disagree with the question's premise. Have you developed a softer, gentler side in recent years? 

"When you're a grandpa you kind of develop more compassion for people's feelings," Saban joked. Nick Saban, compassionate toward people's feelings??? Ha!

No, Saban's evolution wasn't born out of compassion, but of self-interest. Today's players are different, no longer willing to do what they're told simply because it's what they were told. They want to know why.

And so... Saban tells them why. He relates to them not from a top-down perspective of You need to do X because I told you to or Do X because it's in the best interest of the team, but because it's in their own best interest to follow his instruction. 

"Players have changed. The way you approach players now is a little different than what you did in the past," Saban said. "I've always taken the approach that I want the player to understand how he's doing impacts his ability to affect what he wants to accomplish. Whether it's taking a couple clips from film and saying, 'How is this behavior going to help you what you want to accomplish, whether it's a behavior issue off the field that's affecting his ability to be successful in the future. And I don't think you need to yell and scream, a'ight, to get that point across. I think if you just show them and tell them and they understand, it's much more effective on an individual basis."

The natural temptation here is to bemoan the passage of time and how today's players have lost their way, but isn't this a better approach? In college football, and especially at a place like Alabama, a player signs with a school because the coach sways him that signing with him will be in the player's best interest long term. So why should that approach stop when the player enrolls? Doesn't it make logical sense that a player who understands and accepts his place on the team will be more bought-in to the overall team goals? 

None of this means that Saban is done getting out his knife and fork to deliver a verbal ass chewing on the sidelines but, behind closed doors, the Saban of 2022 may get his point across in a more measured manner than the Saban of 2003 may have. 

Hear Saban explain his approach for himself below