Sep 1, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts for a call during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium. Alabama beat Michigan 41-14. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Alabama Football: Excellence is Part of the Process


Pat Riley, the former NBA coach, once said “excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” Alabama put the Michigan game away early on Saturday and it would have been easy to slack off in the second half. Perhaps, the team did that to some extent. However, Coach Saban is always coaching, always looking for a teaching moment, and always striving to do better. There is always room to improve.

Late in the game, with the victory essentially assured, Alabama made a couple of critical errors. A roughing the passer call helped Michigan dig out of a deep hole in their own territory and, a few plays later, they scored on a long pass. Many coaches and fans might have written the mistake off as a first game error or inconsequential given the assured victory.

When the camera turned to Nick Saban after the call, you’d have thought the Tide was 10 points down and running out of time. It was a teaching moment. The player made a mistake. Ignoring a mistake, even in victory, is a sure way to guarantee mistakes later on. The next time the game might have been in a more critical circumstance. Championships are won and lost by a few plays each season.

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. – Steve Jobs

Alabama has become a yardstick of quality, evident by the fact that other programs are beginning to emulate “the process.” The Saban Process is motivational. He doesn’t talk about championships, he talks about doing your job to the best of your ability every step of the way.  The process, then, is attention to the fundamentals, to the players, and to affirmations of success. Coach Saban is a teacher. His players understand their positions. He is a leader. A leader puts people in a position to be a success. He is a motivator with one simple goal. Be the best you can be every play and championships happen.

There is no way Coach Saban was going to let a critical mistake slide, even with a victory safely in hand. The Process simply wouldn’t allow such a thing to evade an opportunity to teach.


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