If anyone has doubted the attitude adjustments being made at the University of Alabama’s football team, now is the time to dismiss those thoughts.
Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that Alabama has had some issues to face since the arrival of Nick Saban last January. But the truth is, the Crimson Tide had issues facing the team before he arrived.
There have been numerous arrests and suspensions of players from the team. There have even been some on-the-field problems to tackle. But those are slowly becoming a thing of the past, and the proof is as follows.
In an interview with ESPN’s Chris Low on Thursday, Saban revealed that the progress that has been made so far has been pleasing to him.
He went on to state that the development of the players’ attitudes this preseason, as opposed to last year’s, is a big difference:
"The attitude of this team has been very, very good. They worked hard in the summer. The leadership is better. We have more young players on this team than a year ago—only nine seniors—so we have to be very conscious of the development process with those guys.
"I've always been a load-the-wagon guy, put it all in and when the game comes, pare it back to what you know they can do. We probably hit a little overload with these guys this year, which is different. But the biggest thing is that the attitude of the players on the team has been really good. They buy into what we're doing. They work hard, and the team chemistry has been a real positive."
Saban followed up on a question by Low in reference to the attitudes of players last year by stating that it was obvious that some players had issues with “buying in to the program” and becoming true leaders for the younger guys.
Saban stressed the importance of everyone knowing and performing his job. Each player must realize that there is a specific responsibility to be performed and that it must be performed with commitment and dedication.
Saban also commented on quarterback John Parker Wilson’s emotion in the game. He stated that Wilson has gotten off to a good start under the new “quarterback friendly” system, and that JP just needs to control the emotions that may override his abilities.
He praised Wilson for his ability to pick up the new system so far by finding a comfort zone in it. Wilson was also given accolades for the way he has matured and the “business-like” attitude he has developed as the leader of the Tide offense.
To further illustrate the change in attitudes that have been taking place at the Capstone, Baron Huber, junior fullback, adds some insight to the new changes taking place in a RollTide.com article from Wednesday.
Huber acknowledged that his move from defense to offense was a smooth transition because that’s were the team needed him the most and that he wanted to do what he was able to do for the team.
Huber said that Coach Saban was pleased with the progress that he had made in this transition. Further, Baron’s attitude could not be more positive in a time in which it is greatly needed for leadership to step-up and set the tone of a good example for the team:
"(Saban) just felt like moving me back to offense, I would have a chance to contribute more. I worry about on the things I can control. I can control how hard I practice and the effort that I put in, and that's it."
If these statements are not signs of maturity and attitude adjustments taking place in Tuscaloosa, then I don’t know what is.
Huber went on to give praise to the progress of the new freshman class, as well as Coach Saban and the rest of the coaching staff making the transition for the incoming players very comfortable.
These new freshmen, according to Huber, have done a great job so far, especially on finishing the plays. He wrapped up the session by commenting on the difference in the physical aspect of the players from past recruiting classes:
"I think the overall size when they came in, they look a lot different than lot of the classes I've seen come in, in the past. They look like they have been in the weight room. They look like they work hard, and they do. That is nice to see. I think they are going to have a really good career here."
You don’t think changes are taking place in Tuscaloosa? Look again. Even the players are recognizing changes in attitude and the type of physical players coming to play ball.
Once you add good attitudes with strong physical players, you will soon have a program that is back to her winning ways!