Saban has been coaching for much of his adult life and throughout that time, he has learned a valuable lesson when dealing with team chemistry. Players tend to respond to other players a little better.
“Well, I don’t think there’s any question about it that that’s what leadership is,” Saban said Wednesday. “I think you have leadership that’s supposed to reinforce the principles and values of the organization.
“When people don’t buy in and do those things and make the commitments that they need to make, I think leadership, guys on the team, peer intervention, peer pressure, whatever you want to call it, is something that every good team has.”
Saban doesn’t think “everyone is capable of doing the right thing the right way the right time all the time.”
He said some players can become frustrated with a lack of playing time and that some will lack the motivation to buy in. He doesn’t want the players who haven’t bought into Alabama’s message to affect the players that have.
“Sheep need to have a dog get 'em home to the barn at night,” he said. “There’s all kinds of things. … ‘Look man, it’s real simple. I feel what you feel. I’ve felt it before, but here’s what I find out about it.’ It’s called experience to help lead people through difficult times. We all have them.
“And I think the older players on the team, it’s good to see them step up. C.J., AJ, there’s other players on the team that do it as well, and I think it’s important that we have that kind of leadership.”
Defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan and running back Jalston Fowler reiterated what some of their teammates said Tuesday.
“We understand that the coaches only want the best for us,” Pagan said. “But at the same time, as players, we’re actually out there so we all know our struggle. It actually hits home more hearing it from a player.”
Added Fowler on if the team is buying in, “Yes, because other players listen to other players. Some of them just need to buy into what the other players are saying. Most of them buy in, but you have to be the right person. You have to be somebody that everybody looks up to and listens to. I think everybody is starting to buy in.”