MIAMI GARDENS, Florida — It was media day for the BCS National Championship Game at Sun Life Stadium, and Alabama coach Nick Saban spent about an hour speaking to reporters. We don’t have a transcript of his entire time on stage, but we’ve got his lengthy opening comment:
“Great to see everybody. Great to be here today. Good morning, everybody. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Orange Bowl Committee and everybody here in South Florida for the great hospitality they’ve provided our team, our coaches, our football families here. We really do understand all the hard work that they do, what they put in in preparation, as well as what they do in taking care of us while we’re here, and we certainly do appreciate that.
“You know, as a team, we certainly embrace the challenges that every season sort of brings, and we certainly want our team, our players to demand a standard of excellence that’s going to help them be all they can be, whether it’s personally, academically, or athletically, and certainly we’re here to try to take advantage of a great opportunity that they’ve created for themselves in terms of what they’ve been able to accomplish this yearvagainst a very good Notre Dame team.
“And I think the thing about having a great attitude toward trying to be all you can be, it sort of shares the responsibility that players and coaches have to continue to improve so that they can reach their full potential. We’ve always tried to develop a sort of be-a-champion sort of character with our players in terms of the importance of being a team, sort of respecting and trusting the principles and values of the organization and each other as teammates. We certainly want our players to be positive in the attitude that they have about trying to be all they can be and the body language that they present, and how it affects other people and the responsibility that leaders have to affect other people in a positive way. We want our players to be responsible for their own self-determination, which means that I can do my job. We define the expectation and they go about doing it in a way that’s going to help them be successful, and that certainly takes a tremendous work ethic.
“That is a combination of a lot of intangibles, whether it’s ability to give effort on a consistent basis, play with the mental and physical toughness to be a great competitor, and have the discipline to execute what you need in whatever it is you’re choosing to do. So those are some of the challenges that we have. It’s one thing to establish those things, it’s another thing to sustain them, and certainly our challenge has been to sustain them, and in some ways you fight human nature a little bit when you try to sustain those things in terms of people that have success kind of want to be rewarded for it and want to be able to take it easy, and success is not something that’s a continuum that you can
take for granted; it’s an ongoing process that you have to work at every day because you’re always going to have new challenges, and that’s certainly going to be the challenge for our team here in the opportunity that we have to play Notre Dame.”