During his first appearance this season on his weekly radio show "Hey Coach," Nick Saban provided a candid opinion of this year's team when asked by an audience member to compare this team to past championship teams.
Saban told the audience that he does not like to compare teams to those of the past because he doesn't think it is fair to do so. He didn't hold back in sharing some things that championship teams have in common.
"But there's some things that championship teams have always had in common," Saban said. "The teams that had the best mindset — we've always had talented teams, and we've had several other teams that were talented enough to win a championship that didn't — and I think it goes back to talent is not enough. You've got to have the right mindset to go with it. So people have to be totally committed and invested in things like discipline and work ethic, and perseverance, and overcoming adversity, and pride in performance, and have that, sort of, burning desire to want to accomplish something, want to do something. You've got to have the right chemistry on your team where everybody buys into it, and the leadership on the team does not put up with anybody that is not bought into it and has not done the things they're supposed to do."
"I think that what sets apart a championship team from some of the teams that were talented enough to win a championship that didn't. That doesn't mean they weren't good people, that just means they weren't quite as hungry, committed — whatever you want to call it — to doing the things they needed to do to win. There's always the issue of complacency that you've got to deal with, and how satisfied do people get?"
Alabama is coming off a two-loss season in which they missed the playoffs, causing many to question if Saban and Alabama have lost their fastball. Alabama also begins the 2023 season ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press poll, the lowest the Crimson Tide has been ranked in the preseason Associated Press poll since 2009. Despite all the outside noise, Saban seems to think this team might not have the talent, but it has shown many positives throughout the offseason.
"I will say this about this team: I don't know if this team is talented enough to win a championship," he said. "But I do think they've shown signs of having the right stuff. We've got a lot of good guys on the team. We don't have a lot of complainers. We don't have a lot of negative people. A lot of people are positive. A lot of people buy into doing things the way we want them to do it, and to the standard we want them to do it to. They're willing to work. They seem to have pretty good chemistry and like they playing. They like practicing. They have fun. They enjoy their work. That hasn't always been true."
"So, I don't know if we have enough talent to do it, but so far — and so far, because the grind of the season can challenge you and test you as to whether you can persevere that kind of a commitment to make — is I've been encouraged by the, sort of, competitive character this team has."
Throughout the offseason, Saban has praised the team's attitude toward doing the things needed to improve each day. Thursday, Saban reinforced this praise while expressing his excitement about how well they will perform in a game.
"I like this team. I like the attitude on this team and the character that they have, and I'm excited about seeing how well they go out and execute and play in the game. Until you play a game, you never know how that's gonna go. It'll give us a good idea of where we are."
Alabama will finally have that chance to play a game to see where they are in the season opener Saturday against Middle Tennessee State.
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