“He always preaches to us about accepting failure, and if you can accept failure and understand why it happened and what’s the reason it happened that way, everything else will be OK,” Johnson said.
“We’re hitting it real hard now,” Elko said.
Except Saban won’t accept failure. With Elko’s help, he wants his players to learn from their mistakes.
“I’ve worked with others,” Elko said. “I’ve won Super Bowls. I’ve won other national championships. He’s a talent without peer. The way his mind works, the way he sets up a culture, the way he does things. …
“He cares. Sometimes somebody who really cares about you isn’t always positive. Sometimes telling people what they need to hear isn’t a positive thing. But they know where it’s coming from when he cares.”
That list probably includes the phrase “dead soldiers fighting.”
“We get completely caught into a step-by-step of winning the game, and there’s a phrase we got into,” Elko said. “There were a bunch of these soldiers, and they kept on winning these battles. People said to these soldiers, ‘How do you keep on winning?’ They said, ‘We’re dead soldiers fighting. Once we quit worrying about winning and losing, we got lost in the fighting.’”