‘I feel like a young man’

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Fresh off a new $93.6 million contract extension that runs through the 2030 season and makes him college football’s highest-paid coach, Alabama’s Nick Saban told ESPN on Thursday he plans to stick around that long train like the Crimson Tide will have him.

Saban, who turns 71 in October, has won six national championships in Alabama and said he remains committed to adapting and evolving no matter how much college football may continue to change in the years to come.

“First of all, I feel like a young man, don’t I? So let’s get that straightened out,” Saban said, laughing. “The 71… is a number, just a number, and I still feel like they don’t make it the way they used to, but you have to be flexible. I think that’s one of the most important things in competitive sports. “You know, the game has changed. The 3-point shot changed basketball. So you either change with it or you fall behind.”

“The no-huddle changed football, RPOs [run-pass-option plays] football changed. Unless you kind of study the game and know the implications of these things and use them to your advantage, a lot of people just bypass you completely.”

When asked if he would “still be here” for the rest of the contract extension, Saban had an answer ready.

“Still alive?” he joked. “I definitely plan to coach here.”

At the start of his 16th season in Alabama, Saban said he and his wife Terry and the rest of their family were “at home.” And despite the constant turnover in his coaching staff and the way the sport has changed, Saban said the key to the Crimson Tide’s continued success is that the culture within the program has remained unchanged.

“I heard that none of us were born winners and none of us were born losers. We are all born voters,” said Saban. “So choosing the right things that will help you be successful … that doesn’t really change.”

In May, Saban and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher engaged in a verbal altercation that went viral. Saban said at an event of business leaders in Birmingham, Texas A&M “bought every player” in its 2022 signing class. Fisher called a press conference the next day and issued a fiery rebuttal.

Saban later apologized for singled out any teams but said his problem was the schools using NIL as an incentive to recruit. He remains adamant against what he calls “high school player offers” under the guise of NIL.

Since that back-and-forth between Saban and Fisher, Alabama has built a 2023 recruiting class that ESPN ranks #1 in the country.

“The only thing that players can see because of the brand that we have here is that because of the brand and the image that they can create with this brand, they can make a tremendous amount of money to build for themselves advertise what happened,” Saban said. “The players we recruit don’t come here because of the money we give them to come here. They come here because they can deserve to be here, because of the story, which we have people creating value for.”

Saban said NIL’s involvement of collectives and alumni in the recruiting process is “what we’ve always tried to do to make sure college football wasn’t like that.” As for the altercation with Fisher, Saban’s offensive coordinator at LSU, Saban insisted he “holds no grudges” and said that over the years he’s learned to use anything that’s said about him as a means of self-evaluation .

“Maybe some of those things can help me get better,” he said.

Saban also shrugged off the personal nature of some of Fisher’s comments.

“You know, things like that used to bother me a lot, and nobody likes those things when they’re said about you,” Saban said. “But I kind of learned that you really shouldn’t let things like that out of who you are.”

When asked if his relationship with Fisher would ever be the same, Saban said, “I don’t feel any different. I really don’t because I don’t take things personally. You know, some people take things personally – when they’re winning and losing. I mean, when you play pickup basketball, some people take things personally and some people don’t.

Alabama ranks first in the AP preseason poll and opens the 2022 season on Sept. 3 at home to Utah State. The Crimson Tide lost to Georgia in the college football playoff national championship game a year ago. That’s after defeating the Bulldogs in the SEC championship game and finishing with 13 wins.

Earlier this month, Saban referred to it as “kind of a rebuild year.” Saban told ESPN Thursday he was surprised by the response to those comments, “because every year it’s a rebuild year because we’re losing 25 percent of our team, whether it’s seniors or it’s guys going into the draft. “

The Crimson Tide, who have won at least 11 games in each of the past 11 seasons, have had 27 total NFL draft picks over the past three years.

“Last year we lost a lot of players from a national championship team the year before,” said Saban. “So we had a lot of new players. We had a young team and didn’t have the same kind of leadership or as much of it, so there were a lot of things that made you feel like you were rebuilding. But, hey, the standards here are high.

“I wouldn’t want to train in a place that doesn’t have a high standard.”

The President of Alabama, Dr. Stuart Bell clearly agrees with this standard.

“After a build-up year, I’m hoping we can win a few more games this year,” Bell jokingly told ESPN.

While the standard hasn’t changed in Alabama, Saban said he’s changed as a coach.

“I think I’ve become a better teacher,” Saban said. “I think the yelling and screaming of players in this day and age really goes in one ear and out the other. If you want them to really resonate with what you’re saying, all you have to do is teach it, and sometimes it works better if you do it alone than if you do it in front of other people, which is something I do in the haven’t considered for the past many years.

“I can still get hot at times but I try to limit that to intangible things like exertion, playing hard and quitting games and not necessarily mental failures.”

One of the things Saban likes most about this team is the leadership and the way the players hold each other accountable.

“We don’t have a lot of what I call energy vampires, guys who take all their time because they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Saban said. “We have a team that has bought in and everyone is trying to do the right thing.”

Alabama is bringing back two of the best players in the country, predicted by many to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft, in quarterback Bryce Young, who won the Heisman Trophy a year ago, and outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr.

“When the best players on your team are the best leaders, that’s really a good thing,” said Saban.

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/34460192/feel-young-man ‘I feel like a young man’

Emma Bowman

USTimesPost.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@ustimespost.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button