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Nick Saban Reveals The 'Turning Point' For Mac Jones

Alabama head coach Nick Saban on Saturday night.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 19: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide converses with Mac Jones #10 during pregame warmups prior to facing the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 19, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

After winning a national championship at Alabama last season, quarterback Mac Jones is now thriving as a rookie with the New England Patriots.

Jones has mostly looked composed throughout his first year in the NFL, but that wasn't always the case for the player Nick Saban used to jokingly call "McEnroe" due to his temper.

During a recent episode of “Hey Coach & The Nick Saban Show," Saban said managing that temper and realizing his emotions can affect others were the biggest adjusments Jones had to make in order to grow as a quarterback.

"That was probably Mac's biggest hurdle to overcome as a player, being able to control his emotions, especially to be able to play the quarterback position," Saban said. "He did kind of have a tennis player's mentality."

According to Saban, there was one "turning point" during Jones' tenure at Alabama that stands out.

"We had one day where we had to go in the indoor (practice facility),” Saban said. “Sometimes, I sit up in the … weight coaches’ second-floor office and look out the window. I was looking out the window, and I can only see half the field. Mac was on the other side of the field. I could see Mac, but I couldn’t see the defense, and I couldn’t see the receivers. I could only see Mac.

“So every time he would throw the ball, I would just look at Mac, and I could tell whether it was complete or incomplete based on his body language. And I told the film guy, ‘Film this.’ I showed it to him and said, ‘This is how you’re affecting everybody else. I can’t even see whether you threw the ball complete or incomplete, and I can tell whether it was complete or incomplete by how you’re acting.’

“I think that might have been the turning point for him. Sometimes, doing those little individual things where you show somebody something like that is really, really beneficial to them. It’s not a negative thing or anything. It’s just, ‘Hey, look. See this? This is not a good thing.’"

Now, you can still see Jones express his frustrations from time to time on the sideline, but overall, he seems to be keeping an even keel. His steady hand and demeanor has helped the Patriots win five straight and take over first place in the AFC East.

In 11 starts, Jones has completed 70.2% of his passes for 2,540 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

[ NESN ]