Nick Saban issues warning to Alabama players
Nick Saban is known for having disciplined teams, but penalties have been a big issue for Alabama this season. If that trend continues, the coach says jobs will be on the line.
Alabama committed 17 penalties in Saturday’s 52-49 loss to Tennessee. That was the most accepted penalties against the Crimson Tide in a game since Saban joined the program in 2007. The previous high was 15, which was set earlier this season in Alabama’s 20-19 win over Texas. As Zach Barnett of FootballScoop.com notes, Alabama has 66 accepted penalties through seven games. That is the most in FBS.
Saban was asked on Monday about all the flags. He said the coaching staff has to “make players more accountable in practice for doing things correctly.” He also indicated that no player is guaranteed to keep his starting job.
“But we can’t continue to tolerate guys that aren’t doing the things they need to do to be successful,” Saban said. “Nobody is entitled to a position. Everybody’s earned the position that they’re in by showing they have the capability and ability to do it on a consistent basis.
“And that’s something that you have to continue. And the grind of the season — being the middle of the season, being a little bit hurt, tired or whatever — you can’t lose your focus on doing the things you need to do to continue to improve and get better because other people are looking at your flaws, too.”
While Saban has likely been irate about all the penalties, he must love that he has something he can harp on. The 70-year-old is constantly talking about how bad it is for his team when the media praises them and prematurely crowns them, which he famously refers to as “rat poison.” Now that the Tide have lost a game and continue to pile up penalties, Saban has plenty to criticize.
Saban went absolutely ballistic over one Alabama mistake in Saturday’s loss (video here). If the number of penalties does not come down, he is only going to grow more frustrated.