His coach, Nick Saban, was sitting up in a second-floor office, looking out the window at practice. He could only see part of the field.
He couldn’t see the defense or the receivers. Just Jones.
“So every time he would throw the ball, I would just look at Mac,” Saban said Thursday at his weekly radio show. “I could tell whether it was complete or incomplete based on his body language. And I told the film guy, film this.”
Later, Saban sat down with Jones and played the film.
“I said, ” This is how you’re affecting everybody else,'” Saban said. “‘I can’t even see whether you threw the ball complete or incomplete, and I can tell if it was complete or incomplete by how you’re acting.”
And that just wouldn’t work at the quarterback position. Especially not at Alabama. And figuring out how to control his emotions was one of Jones’ biggest hurdles for the quarterback to overcome, Saban said.
“This is not an individual sport,” Saban said. “You’re the leader of the team, and you’re kicking and fussing and acting like you messed up, and everybody else sees that. That’s not a good thing for your position. You have to be the commander in chief. You have to be in control of what’s happening.”
This film moment helped spark Jones’ improvement in this area. He went on to become a Heisman finalist and a first-round draft pick and is starting for the New England Patriots as a rookie.
“I think that might have been a turning point for him,” Saban said. “But sometimes, doing those little individuals things where you show somebody something like that is really beneficial to them. It’s not a negative thing or anything. It’s just, ‘Hey, see this, this is not a good thing.'”
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Nick Saban reveals Mac Jones’ turning point with Alabama football