Alabama Football: Do Not Blame Nick Saban’s Process


Alabama football provides a culture that very few football teams can emulate. As disturbing details emerge from former Alabama football player Reuben Foster’s domestic violence case, where did the “Process” fail this stud linebacker?

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Since Foster left Alabama football and moved beyond the keen eye of Saban, his short NFL career has gone awry. First, the removal of Reuben from the NFL combine due to an altercation with a medical official. Next, his urine specimen was reported as diluted and treated as a positive test after the NFL combine.

As with most illustrious players, there was no denying Reuben’s elite talent. The senior’s aggressive play his final season led to the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker. The two prior incidents paired with questions about Foster’s maturity sunk him from being the first linebacker taken in the 2017 NFL draft to the 49ers committing grand larceny stealing him with the 31st pick.

During the Niners’ roller-coaster season, Reuben played in ten games and was a shining star. Foster’s play resembled an Aegis cruise missile shot off the bow of a Navy destroyer with reckless determination and precision.

Concluding the season with 72 tackles, analysts considered him the team’s next superstar linebacker. In early January, an arrest occurred for marijuana possession in Alabama. Next, a disturbance call placed to a dispatcher in February alleged that Foster had assaulted his girlfriend in their Los Gatos home.

Do Not Blame Saban For This

The Alabama football program has endured its share of missteps but to mention that the Crimson Tide staff keeps issues quiet is downright deplorable.

Minkah Fitzpatrick arrived at the Capstone and impressed the staff immediately with his play. As Minkah goes through the draft process, there has not been any mentions of character flaws. Fitzpatrick’s fierce play and quiet demeanor speak for itself.

The first round NFL prospect left Tuscaloosa with two major awards, the Jim Thorpe Award for the best defensive back in the country. Additionally, the Chuck Bednarik Award for the best defensive player in college football.

What makes Fitzpatrick different from Foster?

Both were successful before they arrived at Alabama. Reuben was the nation’s number one linebacker out of Auburn, and Minkah was in the conversation as the top cornerback in the country. However, Minkah fits as the perfect role model for Alabama football and Reuben has been a loose cannon since he made it to the NFL.

Does he need a stronger support staff to keep him grounded? The 49ers’ brass should reach out to Saban and determine the type of support that they can provide the troubled linebacker if he is not released. Minkah spoke to SEC Country about Reuben’s problems,

"He made a mistake. He knows he made a mistake. Everybody’s not perfect, and I really hope that they’re getting him around the right people and he does what he has to do to get back right.So I wish the best for my brother. I love him, and hopefully I get to see him soon and wish the best for him."

Minkah is not projected to be drafted by the 49ers so it will be difficult for him to be one of the ongoing ‘right’ people Reuben needs around him.

Nick Saban preaches accountability.  The 66-year-old coach was quick to denounce Reuben’s actions at his press conference.

Saban runs a strict schedule that helps the players avoid trouble. Once the players depart Tuscaloosa, he has the remaining players on campus to ponder over. We know that Saban cares about his former players. He welcomed oft-troubled Rolando McClain back to school when others had pushed him away.

Results, Not Excuses

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

If Foster can suit up for an NFL team again, he should seriously consider receiving mentoring from past and present players on adjusting from college to professional football.

Not in the aspect of the game but how to handle himself outside of Levi’s Stadium.

Blame Foster for not heeding to the “Process” that has made countless Alabama players successful.

Blame Foster for not holding himself accountable.

Lastly, blame Foster for not displaying the discipline needed to withstand any external noise.

Further, do not blame the Alabama football program.  Foster is just a small cog in a superbly well-oiled machine.

Next: The Saban Process

Hopefully, Foster takes this opportunity to reflect and pick himself back up.  Reuben should rely on prior players that have failed because they were studs on the field but behemoths off of it as well.