Players coming to Alabama know what to expect when they arrive.
They know that if they become starters, they will be on national television every week, compete for championships and have a decent shot at the NFL Draft if they are good enough; maybe a better chance at making it from Alabama than at any other school in the country.
But it hasn’t always been like that.
When Saban arrived at Alabama in 2007, the program was crumbling, mired by probation and poor coaching, and it had been for years; a former power with a fickle fanbase that hadn’t seen a team with championship aspirations in over a decade. College football’s best coach was leaving the NFL—a subpar term with the Miami Dolphins—and returning to the ranks of the collegiate game he knew best.
But Saban has an advantage over many other college coaches: He knows the NFL.