Saban Focused on Restoring Culture
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban spoke at the podium Monday to the media. Saban began this press conference reminding fans that there is an important aspect to be remembered for the Crimson Tide.
"The most important thing at this time of the year is, how many guys can we develop to play winning football on this football team?" Saban said.
Before the question could be asked, Saban spoke on the decision from Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox’s decision to close local establishments serving alcohol for two weeks due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases (531 confirmed cases since classes resumed August 19th):
"This stuff is about people. People are affected in a lot of ways; it isn't just about football. Those people who make those decisions know more about it than me. I feel bad for the business owners and those negatively affected by this, and not the people who don't have the personal discipline to do things the way they're supposed to do it," said Saban.
Last season, Alabama had its share of struggles. Losing quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to injury and losing two tough games to LSU and Auburn. Saban reflected on adversity that the team faced last season a few areas to improve upon in 2020.
"I am not pleased with the way we played last year. There were opportunities to play better as a team and have better leadership. I do not think last year's team reflected the culture of what we're trying to develop here. What has made this program successful, we want to make sure to re-establish that culture, and it comes from the buy-in and trust of every player individually and as well as collectively as a team," the coach said.
The Crimson Tide have been practicing with a unique schedule during the pandemic. Saban mentioned that he has been holding practices on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
"We will work hard for the rest of this week. We have been using Tuesdays and Thursdays to teach, and we are preparing them for the scrimmage on Saturday so we can evaluate and see how, especially some of the younger players, if they're mature enough to go out there and compete when the coaches aren't helping them along, which is the next step of what we would like to do,” Saban said.
As we all are aware by now, college football isn’t a done deal. Conferences such as the PAC-12 and the Big-10 have canceled their fall campaigns. NCAA Division II and III have also had their seasons come to an end. Saban commented on the importance of having a college football season and why sports are so crucial for towns and people:
"I think a lot of people have a lot of pride in their institutions,” Saban said. “Whether it is high school football or college, it ties the town together. People love sports, identify with the competition, and the ability to persevere and overcome adversity. It is more important than public safety, no it isn't. If we can keep people safe, I believe we can play. I don't think we shouldn't try to play because it is about the players. I want to play for the players, not for the money. I know it is important for the fans, and I appreciate them, but this is really about providing an opportunity for the players if we can do it safely."