Miller: Starting For Saban Not An Entitlement Program

James Andrew Miller pulled back the curtain on Nick Saban, and what he found was a man allergic to complacency 

The DA Show
August 08, 2018 - 11:50 am

USA Today Images


New York Times bestselling author James Andrew Miller wanted to know how Nick Saban has been so successful for so long at Alabama. So he found out.

Indeed, in his Origins podcast, Miller pulled back the curtain on Saban’s national-title factory in Tuscaloosa, and what he found was a man allergic to complacency. Yes, for Saban, everything is about “The Process,” which focuses on the journey, not the destination.

“It’s not so much about the competition. It’s not so much about the score. It’s literally that one down,” Miller said on The DA Show. “He has constructed a world where you’re literally in the moment, and the only thing that you’re focused on is what you’re supposed to be doing at that very given moment.”

Saban doesn’t just preach that mantra. He lives it.

“I think, first of all, he applies that to himself,” Miller said. “Whatever kind of work ethic or whatever kind of tirelessness he wants from the players, he exhibits himself. I think that’s probably a really strong signal. But I think one of the other things that he does really, really well is because he’s such a great recruiter, he has such depth on that Alabama team that no one can take anything for granted. Starting is not this entitlement program. Even if it looks like you’re going to wind up being in the NFL or an All-American, you can never take a deep breath and say, ‘Okay, I can phone in this process. I’m going to have a mild preseason because I don’t want to get injured and I want to save my energy for the season.’ Nothing can be taken for granted.

“You walk into the building in Tuscaloosa, and the place just has a different feel to it,” Miller continued. “Unlike a lot of other people and places, most people think ‘Calm down, and let’s get the best out of you.’ It’s exactly the opposite. That whole Alabama environment, it’s all about being really, really keyed in and no margin for error. Somehow he gets people to be at their best when theoretically you would think they’d be so stressed out that they can’t be.”

Saban has won five national titles since 2009. Alabama opens the season with a neutral-site game against Louisville on Sept. 1. Kickoff from Camping World Stadium in Orlando is slated for 8 p.m. ET.