Alabama Football coach Nick Saban spoke with Joel Klatt recently. Most of the media attention that followed went to Saban repeating what he said months ago about Alabama would have been favorites against three of the four Playoff teams. Saban also drew the same conclusion that last season’s Playoff might not have had the four best teams.
Saban’s observation only matters for one more four-team CFB Playoff. After that, every ‘best’ team will be in the field, along with a few teams (maybe several) that are not nearly a ‘best’ team. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide must move on, and in the coming season leave nothing to doubt about being a Playoff team.
Less attention went to other comments made in his conversation with Klatt. That is unfortunate because the ‘other’ stuff is far more important.
Talking about the value of scholarships, NIL, and player commitment, Saban said,
"I think you have to create a balance between how much do you take and how much do you give. We’re giving people scholarships, we’re creating name, image and likeness opportunities. But what is their commitment? There’s no place in the world where you don’t have a contract if you’re going to receive benefits. You have a contract and an obligation to do a certain job. When you can opt out, transfer, do whatever you want whenever you want. I’m not sure the balance is quite right."
Saban’s concerns illuminate why he does not fear a college football future when players are employees. He has said collective bargaining for the players would be acceptable. What Nick realizes is when/if players become employees, the obligation that goes with it is more player accountability.
What drives the Alabama football head man
Klatt asked Saban what at 71, and 27 seasons as a college head coach, still motivates him. Saban’s response was it is ‘the chase’ that he and his staff go through every season.
"That’s the process of what you go through to try to build the team, the process of what you try to do to build individuals to have the culture that they need to be the best versions of themselves. In terms of whether it’s personal, academic, or athletic … the work ethic, the discipline, the pride and performance? All the things that go into trying to help them be the best versions of themselves."
A majority of the video session between Nick Saban and Joel Klatt is provided below.
Note: Interview quotes provided by On3.
What Nick Saban most knows now is something he has always known. That is; the path to excellence has no shortcuts and demands maximum commitment.