TUSCALOOSA, Ala. _ University of Alabama coach Nick Saban gave his team a perfect example to the importance of timing the other day.

Friday night his featured guest speaker was Eric Thomas, the one-time homeless high school dropout who played nine seasons in the National Football League with the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Denver Broncos. He’s also known as the Hip Hop Preacher.

“I thought the guy did a phenomenal job,” said Saban, who has someone address the team every night during training camp. “There was a very simple message but probably so true for our team: Do you have a why? Do you have a reason why you’re doing what you do? Everybody wants to be the beast, everybody wants to be No. 1, but until they’ve got to do what the beast has got to do to be a beast, then it all changes.

“So that’s going to be the difference in this team. I’m sure they all want to be good. Are they going to do what they have to do to be good? That’ll be the test. That means you can play with your ‘A’ game on a consistent basis, you play to a high standard, you can do it on a consistent basis.
That’s certainly what we want our team to be able to do.”

One of the prominently displayed quotes on Thomas’ website is: “Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100% – You make it that much easier for me to beat you.”

After Saturday’s scrimmage players were given Sunday and Monday off. They’ve already moved out of the dorm they live in during camp, which will end Tuesday.

Alabama’s fall semester set to begin on Wednesday, with the season opener scheduled for Aug. 30 against West Virginia in Atlanta.

“I think it’s really important for us to come back with a renewed energy and enthusiasm to demonstrate what we need to do to improve on the things that we need to improve on for the first game,” Saban said.

Thomas’ motivational book, published in 2013 is “The Secret to Success.” Saban’s book from 2005 is “How Good Do You Want to Be?”