Nick Saban sends strong message to Jahleel Billingsley, rest of Alabama team: 'This is not a democracy'
Alabama junior tight end Jahleel Billingsley missed some time earlier in camp for undisclosed reasons. And Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban had made it known that Billingsley had work to do this preseason.
While speaking with reporters on Saturday, Saban was asked for an update on Billingsley and whether he had done what was needed to move up the depth chart. But Saban then took that opportunity to send a strong message to not only Billingsley, but his team as a whole.
“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 told the media. “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.
“It’s a privilege for everybody to go out there and be able to create value for yourself. 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. They 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.
“So what are you doing every day to create any value for yourself? But 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. So maybe that’s not my question to answer.”
Last season, Billingsley had 18 receptions for 287 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. But it’s unclear whether he’ll build off that in 2021, especially considering Saban’s latest comments.
We’ll have to wait to see where this goes next to know what the future holds for Billingsley.
Here’s Saban’s full Saturday press conference (with the Billingsley comments beginning at 8:30):