Alabama football coach Nick Saban has firm message for TE Jahleel Billingsley: 'This is not a democracy'

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football coach Nick Saban didn't hold back when asked after the second scrimmage if tight end Jahleel Billingsley had worked his way back up the depth chart. 

"That's up to him," Saban said Saturday. "That's not up to me. He knows what he is supposed to do in practice. He knows what he is supposed to do. This is not a democracy. Everybody doesn't get to do what they want to do. Everybody doesn't get to do what they feel like doing. You've got to buy in and do what you're supposed to do to be a part of the team and do the things you need to do in practice every day." 

Some of those things include a sense of urgency, playing fast, executing and doing your job, Saban added. 

He also said it's a privilege for players to have the chance to go out and create value for themselves each day at practice when scouts are often watching. 

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"Everybody thinks it's just about playing in a game," Saban said. "It's not just about playing in a game. They watch practice film, they watch guys every day."

Not only to impress the scouts, but Saban also said that players need to create that value so that their teammates have confidence in them. 

"That's up to every player on the team," Saban said. "I don't make that decision for everybody on the team. I try to get them to do it. I try to point out the importance of them doing it, but it's up to them to do it."

Billingsley missed time early in fall camp after what Saban termed as "some COVID protocols" they had to go through with him. On Aug. 11, that's when Saban said Billingsley needed to work his way back up the depth chart. 

When Saban spoke at the beginning of preseason practices, he said that Billingsley needed to buy into the principles and values of the team and be a good teammate.