Alabama coaching legend Gene Stallings has seen a lot during his long career in college and professional football, both as a player at Texas A&M under Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and coaching the Crimson Tide to a national championship in 1992. As he looks back on those years fondly, he can’t help but notice how times have changed.
Stallings called into the 1819 News podcast Wednesday for a wide-ranging conversation about his career and the current state of football culture.
"[Bryant] wanted you to do the best you could," Stallings said. "Being on time was important to Coach Bryant… He wanted you to play as well as you were capable of playing… He could get more out of a player than anyone I've ever been around.
"We don't expect men to be men now. We expect them to be whatever they want to be," the 86-year-old said. "Back when I was a youngster working for Coach Bryant, we had a responsibility to be on time, to do the best you could and perform well on Saturday. Now it seems like everybody walks on a different phase, a different level. We need to get back to oneness where everybody believes in the same phase of the game, believes in the same things you're trying to get accomplished. That's what Coach Bryant did. He wanted all of us to be on the same page."
One of the things that could potentially hinder a college team from being on the same page might be the new NIL (name, image, likeness) athlete deals, which Stallings said he is "100% against."
"When a player gets a scholarship to go to school, that's a big deal. Now we don't think it's a big deal … I have no problem with helping the player in every way that we can, but we forget that we go to college for an education," he said. "You don't go to college to play football. You go to get an education. While you're getting your education, you play football. Somewhere along the line, we're getting that all screwed up."
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