During a national-television interview during “Monday Night Football” this week, Alabama coach Nick Saban offered praise for his team ahead of Saturday’s opener at Missouri, saying he “like[s] the spirit” of his group this season.
Saban offered a similar answer with more in-depth insight during his weekly radio show Thursday evening.
“I think that we have good leadership on our team,” Saban said. “We don’t seem to have many guys who are not bought into doing things the right way. I kind of notice that in every team almost more in what they do off the field, even what they do, sometimes, on the field. I think sometimes character and discipline can be created and judged by what you do off the field just as well as what you do on the field.
“We haven’t had a lot of issues on this team. We probably have less issues academically. We check everybody’s classes every day. We’ve had less guys that have had less points than maybe we’ve ever had for a long time. We haven’t had a lot of issues, discipline problems, or anything like that with the guys on the team.
“I think that comes from having good leadership but I also think it comes from having good people on your team and everybody’s bought into trying to do something together as a group. I’ve been pleased with that part of our team. Whether we’re as talented or as good as some of the teams we’ve had in the past, that has to remain to be seen.”
Alabama’s fall camp, conducted effectively within a “bubble” with no media access to practice and interviews with reporters done remotely, was completed without some of the on- and off-field issues faced by the team last season. Alabama lost preseason All-American linebacker Dylan Moses to a torn ACL before its first game last fall and soon after saw its top incoming freshman Antonio Alfano “quit the team,” among other obstacles.
The Tide seemed to escape major injury to any of its key players this summer and will travel to Missouri with most of its players available despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @mikerodak.