Saban: “This Is Not a Democracy”
After a few weeks of controversy surrounding junior tight end Jahleel Billingsley, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was asked about his status on making it back up the depth chart.
Coach Saban's full statement after Alabama's recent scrimmage:
"That’s up to him, that’s not up to me. He knows what he’s supposed to do in practice, he knows what he’s supposed to do. This is not a democracy. Everybody doesn’t get to do what they want to do, everybody doesn’t get to do what they feel like doing. You’ve gotta buy in and do what you’re supposed to do to be a part of the team and do the things you need to do in practice every day, a sense of urgency, play fast, execute, do your job.
It’s a privilege for everybody to go out there and create value for yourself. And we have scouts at practice every day, so everybody thinks it’s just about playing in the game. It’s not just about playing in the game. They watch practice film, they watch practice every day, aight. You guys on ESPN, you evaluate what happens in the game, aight, but they evaluate what happens every day, what you do every day. So what are you doing to create any value for yourself?
But you’ve gotta create value for yourself so that your teammates and everybody gets confidence in you, aight, so that you can have their confidence when you go out there and play. That’s up to every player on the team. I don’t make that decision for everybody on the team. I try to get them to do it, I try to point out the importance of them doing it. But it’s up for them to do, it’s up to them to do it. Maybe that’s not my question to answer.”
Earlier in the month, the veteran head coach revealed that Billingsley did not show up at the beginning of the 2021 fall camp.
"I think that has a lot to do with his level of commitment...," said Saban.
Ultimately, Billingsley was present for Alabama's third practice of the season. However, according to Saban, the junior is now having to make his way back up the depth chart to make up for the early absences.
Since arriving in Tuscaloosa, Billingsley has appeared in 21 games for the Tide. The 6-foot-4, 230 lbs. receiving tight end was slated to be the leader in Bama's TE depth chart as well as a reliable target for Bryce Young.
On Sep. 4, Alabama football opens up the 2021 season with a neutral-site matchup against the Miami Hurricanes in Atlanta's Mercedes Benz Stadium at 2:30 p.m. CST.
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