Nick Saban sees culture changing at Vanderbilt, talks player management/development
No. 2 Alabama is 3-0 on the season but has looked vulnerable at times, most notably in its 20-19 win at Texas.
It was a game the Crimson Tide easily could have lost, but they found a way to win.
Saturday night, Alabama opens its SEC schedule with a home game against Vanderbilt.
The Commodores are off to a 3-1 start under 2nd-year head coach Clark Lea.
During Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference, Alabama coach Nick Saban said he has seen changes in Vanderbilt’s culture under Lea.
“I think that the biggest difference is I mentioned the word culture,” Saban said. “These guys are playing with a lot of confidence and play well together as a team. … They compete, they play hard. … Those are the things that sort of jump out at me. Those are all really good things in terms of their team having a chance to be successful.”
Saban was also asked Wednesday about the challenge that comes with managing a roster filled with highly rated recruits.
Of course, one of the reasons that Alabama has been the most dominant team in the country for the last 10-12 years has been the level at which it has recruited.
“What we try to do here is get players to focus on development and understand they don’t create any value for themselves unless they focus on development. … Most players buy into that because they understand the importance of that. … Every coach is going to try to play the best players, and that’s how they should want it to be.” — Saban said.
Finally, Saban talked about senior walk-on offensive lineman Jackson Roby, who got into last Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Monroe, much to the delight of his teammates.
“Jackson Roby’s been in the program a long time,” Saban said. “These guys who are on the scout team, work hard, they get very little positive gratification. … The players on the team really appreciate what they do. … They appreciate the fact that you’re helping them get better. … They want to see you get some positive self-gratification for what you do. … You couldn’t have a positive program if you didn’t have a lot of guys like Jackson Roby.”
The Crimson Tide and Commodores are set for a 7:30 p.m. (ET) kick off Saturday in a game that will be televised by the SEC Network.