Alabama leaders preaching the importance of doing little things right

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama welcomes back two permanent team captains and could have double-digit seniors in the starting lineup this fall. Leadership isn’t a concern for the 2022 team, especially with players like Will Anderson and Bryce Young coming back, but coach Nick Saban points out that other players on the roster have to also be receptive of leadership.

“I think leadership is always really important on every team,” said Saban earlier this week. “I think we do have some good leadership on this team. But there are two parts to leadership. There’s having good leaders and then there’s having people on the team who embrace the leadership and buy into the principals and values ​​and things that are gonna help them be successful as individuals, which really ultimately helps you be successful as a team.

“I’ve been pleased with what we’ve been able to do, but the challenge is always being able to sustain against great competition, and we’ll certainly have that throughout this year.”

Anderson and Young were captains on last year’s team as sophomores and will once again lead their respective sides of the football as two of the nation’s top overall players. Other players that were part of the Crimson Tide leadership council during the spring included three seniors in safety Jordan Battle, linebacker Henry To’o To’o and defensive lineman DJ Dale.

Alabama welcomes back seven defensive starters from its 2021 squad, and eight when taking the Star defensive back into account. The offense has a little less with five starters back, which is why when discussing the offensive line after Thursday’s first practice, Saban said that the group needs its leaders to set an example for the other players to understand the standard.

“Coach has challenged myself and a couple of older guys in the room so we have leadership on the offensive line,” said redshirt senior offensive guard Emil Ekiyor on Friday. “He felt like last year, leadership might not have been where it was supposed to be, so I took that challenge upon myself to just push everybody to be their best and just set the example.”

Ekiyor mentioned showing his teammates what it looks like to work hard every day at practice as one of the ways to be a leader. But two of the Tide’s veterans discussed how doing the little things right and making sure everyone else does them as well benefits the entire team.

“Leadership plays a huge role on this team,” To’o To’o said. “And being a leader is hard – doing the right things all the time, trying to bring guys along with you. But I think as a leadership group, we‘ve been doing a great job of setting a standard, telling the guys the little things are gonna matter. Tucking your shirts in, wearing the right socks, wearing the right shoes, it’s gonna take us a long way.

“I think our entire leadership group has been doing a good job, and I think the guys have embraced that. Seeing the little things changing throughout spring, summer and going into fall camp now, I think everybody is embracing it.”

Ekiyor added, “It just comes down to discipline. Doing something that you might not necessarily want to do. Like guys wanna look cool with their shirt out but just tucking it in, like, ‘Damn, I don’t wanna do it, but I’ve gotta do it,’ just because it’s discipline. So that comes out to the field. ‘Am I gonna do the right thing? I’m tired as hell, but I’ve gotta make this block.’

“Coach Saban believes in the same mindset and we’re trying to get the rest of the team to believe that, the reason why the little things matter and why they’re so important.”

Did you know that BOL has a podcast? The BamaOnLine Podcast brings you the latest Alabama news and insight from Travis Reier, Charlie Potter, Hank South and Tim Watts. Catch the latest episode right here or subscribe on iTunes today!

Contact Charlie Potter by personal message or on Twitter (@Charlie_Potter).

Leave a Comment