Saban commands respect and expects the most out of his players. It’s a simple concept, yet he executes it to perfection.
Saban put this mantra on display during a press conference after being questioned about tight end Jahleel Billingsley‘s depth chart status. He responded by emphasizing accountability.
Nick Saban’s “This is Not a Democracy” Speech
Billingsley made headlines for missing the opening of fall camp. Saban responded to Billingsley’s absence at a press conference:
“I think (his growth) has a lot to do with his level of commitment that I talked about before, in terms of doing the right things, developing as a player,” Saban said. “He does have a lot of ability. He can be a positive contributor on the team. But he’s also got to buy into the principles and values of the team and be a good teammate. Do the things that everyone else in the organization does so that he has the respect of his teammates. We’re certainly trying to help him do that and hopefully, he’ll be back out there with us in a few days. We’ll see how that all develops.”Advertisement
It was later reported that Billingsley missed time because he had to clear COVID-19 protocols. He eventually showed up, though his once secure spot is now in jeopardy. Last year, he caught 18 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns and was expected to be a consistent target for quarterback Bryce Young.
Now, he’s working his way back into the good graces of his coach.
Saban was asked about Billingsley’s depth chart status after a team scrimmage on August 21 and responded in a way only he could:
“That’s up to him, that’s not up to me. He knows what he’s supposed to do in practice, he knows what he’s supposed to do. 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 gotta 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 create value for yourself. And we have scouts at practice every day, so 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 practice every day, aight. You guys on ESPN, you evaluate what happens in the game, aight, but they evaluate what happens every day, what you do every day. So what are you doing to create any value for yourself?Advertisement
“But you’ve gotta create value for yourself so that your teammates and everybody gets confidence in you, aight, so that you can 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 for them to do, it’s up to them to do it. Maybe that’s not my question to answer.”Advertisement
You can’t get any more cut and dry than that.
This is why we love Saban. He tells it how it is. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything. Billingsley knows exactly where he stands and what he has to do to see the field again.
My favorite part of the speech is Saban highlighting the importance of creating value. The Alabama Crimson Tide practice this every day by emphasizing the little things, both on and off the field. That’s why, when a player finally takes the field, he can be worth as much as seven figures.
Saban’s latest speech is another reminder of why players come to Tuscaloosa. He will help you be the best you can possibly be, but you have to want to be the best, too.