The element Nick Saban wants to see from Alabama football ahead of Vanderbilt

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Nick Saban might have been trying to demonstrate the very thing he wants to see from Alabama football by how he has approached his media appearances this week.

From his team, he wants more consistency. He has made that clear in his messaging this week by being ... consistent.

Saban has made that a point of emphasis on multiple occasions as No. 2 Alabama (3-0) prepares to face Vanderbilt (3-1) on Saturday (6:30 p.m., SEC Network) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It marks the first game in SEC play for the Crimson Tide this season.

On Monday, he started his press conference praising the energy with which the Crimson Tide started the ULM game. "I thought the energy and enthusiasm was good," he said. Then, by the second point of his opening statement, he was bringing up consistency.

"We're still working toward – and each and every player can do this, each and every coach can do this, I can do this – toward total consistency in playing to the standard that we want to play to," Saban said.

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Then on Wednesday, before he took questions on the SEC coaches teleconference, Saban preached a similar message.

“The focus for us is to get our team to improve but also play with consistency down in and down out, game in and game out," Saban said. "Start of SEC play, so it’s a really important time to do that.”

And really, no better time for the Crimson Tide to start doing it. Vanderbilt has a 3-1 record, but that's a bit hollow. The Commodores beat Hawaii, Elon and Northern Illinois. The best team Vanderbilt has faced over that span, No. 16 Wake Forest, beat the Commodores 45-25.

Consistency can be shown against any team, no matter how good or bad, but a team like Vanderbilt might provide a better opportunity to build that consistency muscle more than most in the conference.

The consistency in games starts with consistency in practice. Saban began his final address to reporters Wednesday night on that subject.

"The big thing you want to do in practice each and every day is try to stack positive performance," Saban said. "I talked about that, so that focuses on improving, every player, play better."

The next opportunity to stack a positive performance in a game will be Saturday. The Vanderbilt game might not provide much of a true picture of where Alabama stands in its ability to be a contender in 2022, but the game still allows ample opportunity for the Crimson Tide to fulfill their coach's consistency wishes.