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Player Feels The Wrath Of Saban: ‘This Is Not A Democracy’

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Alabama junior tight end Jahleel Billingsley, who had three touchdowns last season and was looking to build on the momentum as an upperclassman, drew the scorn of head coach Nick Saban over the weekend.

Apparently Billingsley hasn’t held up his end of the bargain in terms of preseason preparation, and Saban took the opportunity Saturday to make an example of him for the entire team.

“Well, that’s up to him. That’s not up to me. He knows what he’s supposed to do at practices, he knows what he’s supposed to do,” Saban said when asked if Billingsley was moving up the depth chart. “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 got to 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.”

Saban also made an interesting point that many fans may not consider: everything about playing at Alabama gets put under a microscope for NFL scouts.

“It’s a privilege for everybody to go out there and be able to create value for yourself,” Saban elaborated. “We have scouts at practice every day. Everybody thinks it’s just about playing in the game. It’s not just about playing in the game. [Scouts] watch practice film. They watch guys every day. You guys on ESPN, you evaluate what happens in the game. But they evaluate what happens every day, what you do every day.”

The Alabama program has transcended traditional football and now borders on Fortune 500 corporate culture, it seems. The way Saban speaks of his players sounds more like a CEO encouraging his team to be competitive in a marketplace than football players trying to win games.

“What are you doing every day to create any value for yourself?” Saban concluded. “You’ve got to create value for yourself so that your teammates and everybody gets confidence in you so that you 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 to them to do it.”

Whatever Billingsley has done this offseason, or failed to do as it may be, has obviously drawn the ire of Saban. With so much talent constantly coming through the pipeline in Tuscaloosa annually, it’s clear that players are expected to carry themselves as professionals in many ways, or risk losing that all-important confidence from management.

Written by TK Sanders

TK is a southerner who has lived on both coasts and definitely prefers sunshine to snow. A former entertainment executive in Los Angeles, he was run out of Hollywood for misgendering a director's dog, and is now forced to blog for a living. Breaking 80 will always be his number one goal in life.

Follow him on Twitter @outkicktommy.

9 Comments

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  1. That’s why he’s the GOAT. He has expectations he expects his players and staff to achieve. More teachers, corporate heads, and others in charge should be doing the same thing. Unfortunately, in today’s America we are dumbing down standards in the name of equity.

    • You talking about the same Nick Saban who shills for the vax and silences anyone trying to point out his recruiting scandals and also stands with BLM? That Nick Saban? Lmfao that dude only cares about one thing…winning by any means necessary…regardless of integrity it’s a bunch of fucking horse shit he’s a phony when it comes to being a moral leader. He would do absolutely anything his players demanded of him politically to keep getting those number one recruiting classes and you dumbass bama fans would mouth breathe and cheer it on.

      • apparently, you are not aware of Nick is ACUTELY aware of the destructive power of outside distractions — he routinely demolishes the media for creating “rat poison” (look that up if you don’t know about it). If it was PC to wear a jolly rancher around one’s neck or be demolished by the local/national media, then you can bet Nick would have his favorite flavor dangling from his neck… If doing a BLM march motivates his players, he’s gonna do it – as ANY GOOD “BOSS” would do – owning my own company, I sympathize with the situation.

        What is wrong with keeping the focus on GOALS??? What is wrong with winning at all costs? — if that is what you are being paid to do.

  2. Oh I’m very impressed at the level of focus and commitment Saban has for Alabama football. But at the same time it’s a bit disturbing, so I feel conflicted when I read this. Having such a focus, determination, commitment to excellence, and work ethic in this day is very rare and admirable. But before I get too impressed I can’t ignore the fact that all of that energy is poured into a game that little children play in their backyards for fun. It’s quite impressive and bizarre at the same time. Brady’s the same way. You’ve got to have a screw or two loose to be like that.

  3. $10 says those with the “Saban is crazy” or “Saban is a piece of crap” comments would give up a testicle for their team to have the same success he’s had at Alabama. Argue all you want, but if the country had more Saban’s and Brady’s running things, the Taliban wouldn’t be back in power in Afghanistan and COVID protocols would be in the rearview mirror by now.

    • I get your point, honestly I do. Saban and Brady’s commitment to excellence is impressive for sure. That’s my point. Look at what someone can do with that laser focus and commitment to a goal. A great leader is someone who clearly understands the main goal and can motivate those around him to see, value and commit to achieve that same goal together. Those guys are clearly those kind of leaders…on a football field. What if Americans, including myself, put that kind of single-minded commitment to a goal that actually mattered? That’s what seems to be out of focus in our time, and we all can clearly see the results of it. Some things need to change.

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