Nick Saban is trying to navigate getting Alabama back to the level where it expects to be each season. During an interview with Heather Dinich of ESPN, Saban explained how he plans to do it, and it starts with buy in.

“Anytime we don’t get into the national championship game, there’s a standard here that everybody sort of has an expectation,” Saban said. “We want our players to focus on what they need to do to get there, not the outcome, but what we have to do to get the outcome, and I think everybody in the organization is trying to figure out, ‘OK, how do we go about this in a way that’s going to help us get there.’ The players, the coaches and everybody in the organization because we have a high standard of what we want to accomplish, and what we want to do. We need to get everybody to buy into that and understand the importance of doing the little things that will help them get where they want to be and where we want to be.”

Keith’s take on Alabama expectations

Certainly Saban has changed quarterbacks in the past after a legend departed, and coordinators commonly arrive and depart. But this is certainly a challenging time for Saban, who still draws praise for being the top coach in college football around media circles, even though Kirby Smart has won the last 2 national titles.

Saban’s process is well known, but it will be put to the test this season. Not only does Georgia have a relatively soft schedule, but LSU is as primed as ever to reach Atlanta again. And even people like Paul Finebaum believe that Texas A&M could build momentum and become a major threat in the SEC West.

This feels like the kind of season where you don’t count out Saban, but it’s also difficult to see how it all comes together. There are plenty of talented players, but are there new Bryce Youngs and Will Anderson Jrs.? Getting back to the top of the college football world this season could be Saban’s greatest coaching feat yet.