Alabama football coach Nick Saban has warned his players against the dangers of complacency with the help of one of the greatest upsets in heavyweight boxing history.
The national champions will ‘become the target’ for every team in the country after their success last season, and it’s a fact not lost on the West Virginia native.
Indeed, the 61-year-old former Miami Dolphins head coach has already shown his players a tape of Mike Tyson’s infamous defeat to James ‘Buster’ Douglas back in 1990. Many felt Iron Mike was unbeatable at the time, but Douglas shocked the world in Tokyo, Japan.
"You become the target. Everybody's got our name circled. Everyone wants to beat us,” said Saban, whose side have won the national title three years in a row.
“You've got to get ready for that. When the game comes, everybody wants to win. Who prepared to win the game the right way?"
Saban was speaking at a controversial event in a town less than 60 miles away from the Tennessee campus. His appearance had drawn over 100 complaints in the months leading up to yesterday’s benefit dinner, but a sell-out crowd of 1,500 people gave the veteran a standing ovation when he arrived on stage.
Focus wasn’t on the Crimson Tide specifically, with Saban preferring to discuss his coaching philosophy before answering a variety of questions from the audience - including one on the starting quarterback's girlfriend.
"I know I'm old-fashioned and I know I'm crazy with this stuff, but I believe it," he said when discussing the importance of character, self-discipline and work ethic, according to ESPN.
“It works for us. That's why we have success. I also think you have to have a positive attitude about what you're trying to do. You've got to have a vision for what you're trying to do."
Saban’s appearance was not booster-related, with his fee donated to Nick’s Kids Fund, a non-profit organisation which supports children, family, teacher and student causes.