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Saban stresses ‘respect’ for winning regardless of opponent quality

The Crimson Tide is set to take on the University of Louisiana at Monroe, a game in which Bama is a 48.5-point favorite.

Although Alabama is a heavy favorite in Saturday’s matchup at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Nick Saban is looking to send a message to his top-ranked squad.

In 2007, Saban’s first year at The Capstone, ULM beat Alabama in a 21-14 upset victory on the Tide’s home turf. Alabama would go on to post a 7-6 record that season.

Saban’s program has not looked back since, appearing in nine national championship games and staking its claim as college football’s pre-eminent juggernaut.

For the Tide head coach, the quality of his team’s opponent should not factor into how the players perform. Instead, Saban believes his squad should be motivated on being the best version of themselves regardless of who they are facing.

Saban was asked during a Wednesday press conference how difficult it was to measure offensive success against the quality of the team they are playing. The line of questioning sparked Saban to enter into another one of his educational sermons.

“That’s your opinion on quality of opponent,” said Saban. “It’s not mine. I respect all the people that we play and I respect winning and what you have to do to win.”

Consistency in performance and respecting what it takes to win should serve as players’ motivation, according to Saban.

“Every player should not be focused on who they are playing against relative to the motivation, but every player should want to be the best player they can be,” he said. “Why would it matter, whether we’re playing Texas or playing somebody else? That’s how you get good, that’s how you develop the right habits. That’s how you’re consistent.”

Saban then lamented the idea that a player would allow an opponent to dictate his effort or performance in a game.

“That means, when we play a team that is not as good as somebody else, you don’t play as good?” he said. “You let the opponent determine how you play? You let the score determine how you play? You determine where you’re playing, that determines how you play? When you get evaluated, what does somebody think? ‘Oh this guy is pretty good at home. I don’t think we’ll draft him.’

“What does what you’re favored in a game mean when you’re favored by 20 points and you lose? Like two teams did this week. What does it mean? It means the people favoring you either don’t know what you’re talking about, or the players playing got affected by that. Neither one of them are good.”

Alabama and ULM are slated to kickoff at 3 p.m. on ESPN’s SEC Network.

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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