TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — There’s no question that defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is one of the top leaders for Alabama.
A senior standout, Allen is one of the Crimson Tide’s best players and most respected teammates.
While watching practice this week, ESPN reporter Holly Rowe got an close-up look at Allen’s leadership abilities.
Rowe, who was the guest host on Nick Saban’s radio show Thursday night, shared the story from the workout.
“Today in practice, I was really impressed. Jonathan Allen was over there, and he got into it with somebody,” Rowe said. “He was very harsh with this kid. I’m not going to say who, but one of the things he said to him was ‘that is a selfish mentality.’
“And I’m like, ‘Here is this kid in the middle of practice trying to teach other people how to have a team-first mentality and really bring it in practice. To your concern coach of is their attitude right, is their energy right looking past what they did at LSU moving into this next challenge, I liked what I saw from Jonathan Allen today.”
Allen is currently having a great senior season. Allen has returned 2 fumbles for touchdowns this season while leading the team with 11 quarterback hurries. Allen has recorded 38 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss and 7 sacks, to go with 2 pass break ups.
Saban supported Rowe’s assessment of Allen, and added that good leadership is important for every team.
Saban said players like Allen and others that are respected by the team can often have the greatest impact on the group as a whole.
“It probably means more to you sometimes what your peers think than really what your parents think,” Saban said. “Sometimes they look at the coaches like we’re just the parents. But when your peers tell you all of a sudden that what you’re doing is selfish behavior or that’s not how we do it here at Alabama or this is a better way that you do it… The power of one is so important when it comes to leadership.”
In Saban’s eyes, leadership on a team is more about affecting one person at a time than it is about trying to reach the entire group at once.
Saban said creating leadership within a team is something that’s a “work in progress that doesn’t happen overnight.”
“That’s something that we’ve been blessed with here, and had a lot of good people, and Jonathan Allen is one of the best at it,” Saban said.
No. 1 Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC) hosts Mississippi State on Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for noon ET on ESPN.