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Nick Saban details how Alabama handles anxiety with its players

Alabama head coach Nick Saban thinking as he walks across the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium before 2022 game against Mississippi State
Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

The word “anxiety” became the term heard around college football after Nick Saban and Will Anderson of the University of Alabama used it as a reason behind the Crimson Tide’s loss to Tennessee.

Fans and former players were disappointed, but Alabama returned to the win column against Mississippi State.

RELATED: Does Alabama have opponents afraid of it again after win over MSU?

During its bye week, Coach Saban visited the Monday Morning Quarterback Club. He enjoys giving back to children in the hospital and making a difference in the Birmingham (Ala.) community. Several reporters were prepared to ask him questions about the team as it will face Louisiana State University on Saturday, Nov. 5. One of the thoughts was about anxiety and how he and the coaching staff help players deal with it. Crimson Tide fans want to see its team on fire down the stretch of this season.

“What we try to do is get players to focus on what’s in front of them,” Saban said. “Do not get affected by external factors, don’t worry about what others say or think or what’s on ESPN or what the line of the game is because none of that stuff matters. It matters how you play. How you play on a winning team creates value for you. How you play personally creates value for you. So, make it simple and focus on what’s in front of you, which is the next play. If the last play did not go very well, it can’t affect the next play. If it did get well, it can’t affect the next play either. That is how you get consistency in performance and even if you get resistance, you have to have the poise to overcome it. We have to focus on what’s in front of us, be where our feet are, and be positive. Everybody controls their choices. What you let run through your mind, positive or negative, goes a long way toward determining how you respond and react to things. When you are worried about outcomes, it puts a lot of negative thoughts in your mind.”

RELATED: Alabama looking to ‘create roles’ for receiver Tyler Harrell down the stretch

Alabama will have many external factors against LSU, including a hostile crowd at Tiger Stadium. Tigers’ head coach Brian Kelly has the team playing much better since its season-opening loss to Florida State. The Alabama-LSU matchup means something this year. LSU is 6-2 and the game will determine who represents the SEC West in the SEC Championship Game.

Fans want to be sure the anxiety is over. We shall see how the Tide looks in Baton Rouge, La.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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