The 2023 SEC Media Days were underway on Wednesday with the Alabama Crimson Tide being one of the teams at the center of attention. Head coach Nick Saban went up to the podium to talk about the state of the Crimson Tide both on and off the field. One of the biggest topics of conservation that Saban addressed at SEC Media Days is the importance of off-season work and humility when it comes to sacrificing for the team to be successful. Saban explained the importance for players to stay mentality focused through the off-season and during the season. One of the biggest restrictions to the Tide’s success in the past two years was the lack of mental focus and humility. Saban reiterated this important factor after his introduction to his press conference at the 2023 SEC Media Days.
Nick Saban Talks Player Mentality in 2023 SEC Media Days
Saban’s on Player Development Physically and Mentally in 2023
“I think that that’s a critical piece of sort of growing your team and developing your team is that you can take the talent that you have and create the right mindset to go with that talent because talent alone is not going to help them be successful because they are heading someplace in the SEC as well as in the NFL if they have the opportunity to get there, where everybody has talent,” Saban told the assembled media.
“So if you don’t have the right mindset to go with it, then you’re never going to bring that talent to fruition, nor will you be able to create the kind of competitive spirit that you need and we are talking about having resiliency and perseverance and ability to overcome adversity, and discipline to pay attention to detail and do the little things right,” Saban said of off-season demand of his players.
One of the key reasons why a Saban-led team is usually ready by gameday is because his team is physically and mentally prepared. The Tide are having to change much of their philosophy due to the different coordinators on both sides of the ball from last season. To make it more difficult, the Tide are having to replace 13 full-time starters with seven on offense and six on defense. Two of those departing players in quarterback Bryce Young and edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. became the identity of the team. This offseason, Saban calls for his new players to buy into a new system with new assistants. These new starters will have to face the objective of trying to adjust to being new full-time starters at the highest level of competition, the SEC, and a completely new team from the previous seasons.
Saban on Humility Going into 2023
“We want to stay focused on the process of what we need to do to play winning football at every position. And I’m not here to create expectations for our team. Lots of people will do that. But expectations in some way are a premeditated way to create disappointment,” Saban said.
He went on to talk about where the focus needs to be. “I think you can look at it in your life and that’s why I say we need to say process-oriented, not focused on the outcome but focused on the things that we need to do to get the outcome that we want, and you know if you have high expectations for what you want to accomplish and it doesn’t work out, it makes you focus on the outcome and it doesn’t work out and you’re very disappointed,” Saban said of humility.
For the past two seasons, the Crimson Tide hit a roadblock due to a lack of definitive talent at certain positions. Another problem with Alabama has included disgruntled pass-catchers including former wide receiver Agiye Hall and former tight end Jahleel Billingsley. After being displeased through the preseason of 2021 and most of the season when it was their time to shine in the 2022 National Championship Game against Georgia, they were mentally unprepared.
Their lack of humility became an example of the distraction Alabama possessed in the locker room this past season. Saban looks to permanently change that mentality as it is a definitive roadblock to get back into the College Football Playoff. Saban is going into his 17th season as the head coach of the Tide at 71 years old, which doesn’t give him many chances for his team to get back into the CFP.
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