Saban battles sense of entitlement

Mr. College Football talked with Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban Thursday in Tuscaloosa about the 2008 season and Alabama’s spring. The conversation included Saban’s bane—entitlement or expectations. Saban has warned Alabama fans and players about that this spring during press conferences, but he never passes up the chance to preach his warning.

“We seem to have an attitude around here that we deserve some level of success based on what we did the year before,” Saban said to Mr. College Football. “Those kinds of expectations can be destructive. At this level of football nothing is guaranteed. You only get what you are willing to work for.”

How much the players are willing to work in spring, the off-season program and fall camp will tell us how the 2009 campaign will unfold. Will the sense of entitlement—that Alabama deserves championships because it is Alabama—give way to the exertion required to achieve success?

Battling the expectation of fans has been a theme for a few columnists this year, but fan expectations really don’t matter in the scheme of things. Saban is secure at Alabama, and fan expectations aren’t important unless the coach isn’t on firm footing. Alabama football fans aren’t going to stop coming to the stadium after one or two bad games—unlike what happened to the basketball team. For the time being, fan expectations are unimportant because they aren’t going to mean anything to the coaching staff. Provided that some booster doesn’t call the assistant coach at home, but that hasn’t happened since the first season of Nick Saban.

Player attitudes are what count. 2008 was made possible because players had the right attitudes and their work showed it. 2009 can be good too, but it requires self discipline from the players. Saban is preaching that. Are the players listening?


Add Yours
  1. 1

    This is NOT news, and some coaches preach this to instill drive-to-succeed in thier players. One must understand Bama’s past to understand why CNS is faced with this attitude. During the Coach Bryant years, the attitude was prevelant that ‘Bama just won because, well, they were Bama’. The team ‘expected’ to win and that belief permiated the team and spilled over to the fan base. There were games when the other team came out fast and got ahead, but no one was worried because ‘Bama was going to win’, no matter what. It became a large part of Bama’s tradition. Bear even said, “I never lost a game, I just ran out of time”.
    I’m not saying that tradition can’t nor shouldn’t be changed IF it results in success, but CNS must understand where the roots of this attitude lie and that he can’t just ‘speak it away’.

  2. 2

    This 09 team will be in the N.C.race as will be the 2010 team.All you need to do is just look at the talent this man has brought in.Also look how he left LSU.Loaded with plenty of talent.I my self am not worried about a dam thing because BAMA football is here to stay now even if he leaves. ROLL TIDEEEEEEEEEE

  3. 3
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Daddio…..You beat me to the punch. I was thinking the same thing. The only difference is that its no longer the 60s and 70s , but the bama fanbase still thinks it is. Its sad. Its like an old codure who thinks he can whoop a young man.

    Take JWs post for instance. Case closed.

  4. 4

    daddio, Bear never had the attitude that Bama would win simply because they were Bama. Even he got lazy for a while, and that’s why he had some really lame seasons in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He got re-energized, brought in the wishbone, and got back down to business. BTW, he never said “I never lost a game, I just ran out of time.” He said that about only one game, and that was the Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame. I don’t think Bear was wishing that Sam Cunningham had “more time” to carry the ball at the end of the game when USC came to Birmingham in the early 70’s. I’m sure Saban appreciates your history lesson, though.

    Ballplay, I agree with you about JW’s post. Geez, that is exactly the type of delusional BS that Saban was talking about.

  5. 6

    No i.m not living in the past and i am not delusional.I just call it like i see it and Coach Sabans past career records prove to me that a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP is a very good possibility.I know you two aubie fans are very delusional about that 36 o loss but look at the records and tell me who really is depressed, delusional,discouraged,and dejected so fellas have a nice day. ROLLLLL TIDEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  6. 7

    I think that Saban addressed the Cancer in some of the fan base that the program was “entitled” .
    The “Silver Platter” was melted a long time ago to pay the bills and the sins.

  7. 8

    Julio, Pluto, Ballplay…let us reason together…

    Auburn has fallen so far off the map so quickly, I understand why you’d want to turn your attention here. Did you hear the mumbojumbo Cheezdick was saying after Aubarn’s last scrimmage? It’s clear the man is living, no…surviving…one day at a time and has no vision for the longterm future. Saban is addressing a real problem at the Capstone, and I might say, effectively changing a very old culture in Tuscaloosa. While a few people who post will stray from his sermons, still most are following him hook, line and sinker.

    Look for a complete beatdown in the pasture next November before your turkey has even digested. You won’t even score (again) in ’09.

  8. 9

    ITK, come on man. You’re above throwing out empty insults like BM and Brando. What do you mean Chizik has no “vision for the long term future”? He’s recruited as well as anyone could have possibly expected him to in the short time he’s been at Auburn. He hired a very solid staff (when all you bammers were screaming that he was going to be a mere puppet and hire nothing but former AU players and Dye asst’s). What exactly is it that Chizik has done that demonstrates he has no “vision for the long term future”?

    BTW, you say most bammers are following Saban hook line and sinker? Did you read Barnhart’s article? The “sermon” that Saban was preaching was that expectations should be tempered this season. You really think that the majority of Bama fan’s expectations will be “tempered” this season?

  9. 10

    And its the young and impressionable thats following him. The old tymers are simply showing solidarity. YOu let Saban chnage his flavor or start going 6 and 6 or even 7 and 5 for a year or two and then the MOB will start at the Grey Hair!!

  10. 11

    NO the expectations will not be tempered because this is ALABAMA football and there is to much tradition.Also why temper it down when you have the best coach in the nation bringing in top talent.Hell son this is ALABAMA football not pewee like down the road.We have a reason to be excited and excited we are.A defense that WILL be number one and a offense that WILL be productive and very good at what it does as season goes on.So i think i will start drinking the koolaid a little early this year.You losers have a happy EASTER.ROLLLL TIDEEEEEEEEEEE 36 O 36 O

  11. 12

    JW,Make no mistake, while saban is “one of the best coach’s in America, Urban Meyer is the best coach in America.

  12. 13
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    You know, It is now obvious to me that Saban doesnt know of what he speaks. Bammers have a sense of entitlement ? Who wouold have thunk it.

  13. 14

    Julio, most Bama fans realize that it is not the 60s and 70s anymore. That is you Auburn people that like to bring that up. I wasn’t even around in the 60s, and barely was in the 70s. The only thing I remember is the last few years of Bryant. But the expecations have always been the same. Don’t you expect Auburn to contend for a National Championship at some point? Or do you just accept your status as a team that will never get the chance? I would think that every school in the BCS would make that the ultimate goal every year. Just like NFL teams want to go to the Super Bowl. The expectations at Bama have always been high, and that will never change. Maybe Auburn could learn a thing or two about high expectations if they ever achieved any of them. Are you saying that Bama fans shouldn’t expect to have a football program that competes for championships? If we did that, we would be just like Auburn fans.

  14. 15

    And Ballplay, Saban knew what kind of expectations the fans have here before he took the job. He is saying that it can interfere with his coaching of the team. It is his job to keep the team focused. Do you think Saban sets the bar low? Does Saban have high expectations every year? What is the difference between the fans expectations and the coaches expectations? Sure Bama fans feel they are entitled to have a great team. Saban makes a lot of money because the fans demand that Bama becomes competitive for championships. It shows in support for the team. Do you think that if Bama had Auburns history of achievements and the support like Auburn gives, that Saban would even come to Bama? He has said before there wasn’t but a few schools he wanted to come back to college and coach, and Bama was one of them. And that is because of the enormous fan base and support. He likes to coach up the fans too. But he knows what he is doing. Ya’ll keep looking for things to spin. What else can you do about it?

  15. 16
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Brando…….Hearing about the Crimson neck nation and then experiencing it are two different things. The coonasses at LSU were just a tuneup for the Bama necks. Its kinda like someone in the supply tent in “Nam talking about a war. He had heard about it , but never experienced it.

    Spin this……….Your own coach PLAINLY acknowledged and made an attempt to calm you freekin necks down. On several different occasions.

    Do you deny this ? If so , look at the title of the thread.

    By your post I assume you are about 31- 35 years of age. If that is the case, youve seen a coupe of undeafeted Bama seasons. Auburn matches that. Plus Auburns overall record is better, and we have at least as many SEC champs if not more. Havent bothered to research, but Im sure someone will. If the last 7 years were the “golden age” how do YOU spin that away ? The Dye era was way more productive. We have been in the National title scene once every ten years since Ive been watching Auburn. I believe that compares or exceeds you guys.

  16. 17

    Auburn has been in the NC picture? Wow. I must have been asleep, or NOT EVEN BORN YET since it was 1957. But you didn’t answer my question. What is wrong with having high expectations? I not only have the high expectations for Bama football, but for myself as well. But to answer your question: I have seen Bama win 3 national championships (1978,1979, 1992) and at least 4 SEC championships in my lifetime. What have you seen Auburn do again? Bo Jackson? That is all I can remember. One Heisman trophy and 2 undefeated seasons, and 3-4 SEC titles. Oh yeah, 6-in-a-row. That still doesn’t top the 9 game streak Bama has had. Since the SECCG has been split East-West, how many times has Auburn made it to that game? 2? Bama-Florida has met in that game like 5 times already. Please man, you are just making a fool out of yourself. Go root for your team, but don’t try and put football at Auburn above Alabama. It will never happen in your lifetime. Some schools have the ability to have a national identity because of a sport. Alabama is one. Auburn is not one of them. They are more of a regional school.

  17. 18
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Dye had 4 SEC champs ……Tubbs had 1. That equals 5. 4+1=5………2 undefeated seasons……..Undisputed. The 83 season (one loss) Going by bamas standards was a Nat. champ season. Were the Championship games in 78 and 79 undisputed ? And how old were you in 78 and 79 ? In one post you say that you barely saw the 70s . So wich is it ?

  18. 19

    Ballplay, you might want to see the real record of Bama championships I posted under “Auburn fans worried about Chizik”, Bama has more sec’s than any team. You really do live in fairyland.

  19. 20
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Way to not answer my question. How old are you ? If you are mid 30s then do you mean to tell me you were watching the games at age 3 ? Just answer.

  20. 21

    Ballplay, I was 8 years old in 1978. So kiss my ass. I seen it, and it was not disputed. They won it the next year too. Also not disputed. Bear retired after the 1984 season. So I only got to see the last of Bears great run. But you Auburn people like to not count any of those years. I understand Auburn was completely dominated during that time, and that inferiority complex Bear gave ya’ll has been passed down to Auburn fans 30 years later. Now that is a great accomplishment that don’t show up in the stats. I mean, ya’ll actually want to block it out of the history. 25 years worth of football, and you want to forget it ever happened because Auburn sucked for a majority of that time. Well, it doesn’t work that way. Bama has the history, Auburn does not. Bama is on its way to dominate again, and you say it won’t happen. Well, history says it will, just like at Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, and Alabama. Auburn will never make that list. And ya’ll want to be there so badly ya’ll still want to blame it on Bama somehow. Man, I am glad I wasn’t born with the defective gene that makes up an Auburn fan.

  21. 23
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Again jackass. I didnt see Bear dominate crap. I didnt see Bama EVER dominate Auburn. Did they ? Yes. But I DIDNT SEE IT !!!!!!!!! And your telling me you watched Bama win ? I doubt it. But Ill go ahead and give you the benefit of the doubt. O.K. You witnessed it. Now , though I didnt Ill give your lifetime of football an edge over us. Mine , however is a different story.

    One of the only games I witnessed Bahr coach was his last one. He lost that one.



    Again. Bryant was before my time.

    Anyone under forty talking crap about Bama dominance hasnt a leg to stand on.

  22. 26

    BI, If you are telling the truth about your age you were 22 when we won our last National Championship and 29 when we won our last sec, if you call that average, what do you call Aub? c’mon dude get real, you have never even experienced your team win an NC, I have.

  23. 27
    The Believer

    While you gotta Believe. You still gotta be humble. Keeping it sorta to yourself. But know, deep down the belief is so strong “there is no d.. dought.”

  24. 28
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Some of you guys need to put down the crackpipe and put a coherent sentence together (JW and The Believer)………

    You are right Bamaman I did witness those things and that wasnt average , but throw in a lot of crap years and you get an average score of mediocrity.

    I have witnessed Dye own the entire SEC. Two undeafeted seasons. 5 SEC champs. And in 83 going by Bama standards we should have won the N.C.

    A little beter IMO in my lifetime.

  25. 29

    Ballplay, I can’t help what you seen or didn’t see. You want to doubt me, and that is fine too. You are so deep in denial about it you do not want to see the facts. Sure Auburn has made some progress post-Bear, but if Bama has been average since then, what the hell has Auburn been? In the 25-30 years since, if anything the stats have been close to even. Auburn leads in some areas, Bama leads in others. But Auburn has not passed Bama in anything yet. Until they win at least 3-4 more NCs, about 20 more SEC championships, and beat Bama at least 9 times in a row, I will agree with you. Until then, you just keep on smoking your crack pipe and live in your Auburn colored little dream world. But Auburn won’t catch Bama in your lifetime.

  26. 30
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Again………………..good grief…………..Did I say they would ?


    Again, you cant seem to turn loose of BAHRS accomplishments.

    I never said that Bama wasnt better all time. Just my lifetime.

  27. 31

    Hey, it is not just Bears accomplishment. The greatest thing he did was to turn all you Auburn fans into a bunch of insecure little whiners that still persists to this day. But Bama has had 4 different coaches to win NCs. Bear was a player in that system that helped make him what he became as a coach. But do me a favor: Go and gather all the FACTS about Auburn in your lifetime, and lets compare. If you can’t back up your fantasy with facts, then shut the hell up and quit crying about it. In my lifetime I have never seen Auburn win a NC or accomplish the things that I have seen Bama do. That is FACT. Now show me some proof, bitch.

  28. 32
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    You are an intimidating fella arent you. At 6’3 270 I hardly call myself little man as you have been doing. I have had chunks of corn in my turd bigger than you son.

    Now , this arguement is going nowhere. Its like me saying that wall is yellow. And then you going on a 30 minute rant about why the wall is yellow, and how you have stats to prove the wall is yellow. And then closing with “The wall is dam well yellow BITCH !”

    Well ,,,,,,,,,,,no kidding. Its what Ive said all along.

    Its crazy. But thats why I love you MANN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. 33

    Ballplay, you are right, you do like to argue. The damn point is you keep saying in your lifetime Aub has the advantage, bullshit, unless you are younger than 16 years old. You keep wanting to discount our last NC in 92, how could you think you have an advantage unless you have the big trophy and went to the big dance. Unless I am wrong that is the biggest goal.

  30. 34

    Ballplay: Are you threatening me or something? I don’t care how big or small you say you are. Oooh I am supposed to be scared of the big bad Auburn fan on the internet? Please, little man, don’t hurt me.

    Your argument was what you said you have seen in your lifetime. What you have seen and what the facts are differ, you see. You still fail to realize it, but hey, that is okay. But don’t tell me what I have and haven’t seen Bama do. And that is what you did. I proved my point, and now all you can say is ‘I have been agreeing with you all along!”. Yeah right. But you can keep on hoping for that day when Auburn is king of the mountain for once. And when and if they ever make it, I sure as hell will acknowledge it, too. But you guys need to take your own advice and quit living on the drunken ghost of Dye.

  31. 35
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    First off bamaman………We have 2 undefeated season in my eyes compared to one that you have. We cant help it you backed into the Championship game.

    Brandy…………I dont threaten people. Unlike you a couple of weeks ago threatening to kick my ass. So dont go there. You caledl me little, I cant help it that Im not . Just letting you in on a fact that Im not little. Im far from it boy. Im 270 pounds of freekin war machine. I eat thunder and crap lightning. But lucky for you, Im a peaceful guy. Or else I would have already travelled to Lickskillet Alabama and thrown a beatin on you tail.

    Im sorry that you dont like me agreeing with you. Dont worry, it wont happen again.

  32. 36

    Ballplay: And you call me crazy. Sorry you refuse to see the facts. I guess that is what it means to be an Auburn fan, little man. I mean, Mr. War Machine. But you are welcome to Lickskillet any day to prove your point. But if you handle it the way you handle your arguments here, you will leave bloodied up and with a limp. Now tuck your tail and crawl back to Ballplay and lick your wounds, Thunder. Now git.

  33. 37

    BI, speaking of those “five” sec’s Aub has in the last twenty five years, didn’t yall split the one in 88 with LSU and the one in 89 with AL and TN? Aub must have backed into those other two with player buying Dye.

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