According to Maisel, "if this team fits any mold, it is not that of the great Alabama teams of yore. No, this mold is about 5-foot-8 with swept-back hair and the kind of intensity that will peel the bark off a pine tree."
Said Saban of his team, which went 7-6 last season:
"Sometimes when you give somebody a responsibility, they will do a good job with it. If you never ask it, they don't ever do it. They don't see it as a part of their role."
As Maisel writes:
The qualities revealed by the Tide's rise to No. 1 are the building blocks of any successful football team. They are preached by Saban and his staff all the time. They are old-school verities about responsibility and discipline and doing what you should be doing when no one is looking. These qualities are preached by plenty of other staffs, too. The difference is, in Tuscaloosa, the teaching went in one ear and failed to come out the other.