There is obviously a lot of resentment towards the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide coming from fans of the Miami Dolphins. Nick Saban coached the team from 2005 to 2006, and then left them to go coach Alabama after swearing up and down that he wouldn't leave.
Naturally, Dolphins fans are still bitter over that fact.
But despite that fact, it might be time to put aside that anger and hatred for the briefest of moments, as it appears the Dolphins have Saban to thank for helping them land one of the 2018 NFL draft's most polished players in defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.
"It was an awesome experience," Fitzpatrick said during his video conference with the media. "I became so much better of a player over the last three years just by sitting underneath him and watching everything that he does, moving the way he moves; I really appreciate everything he's done and how hard he was on me, because it made me a great man and it also made me a great player."
Fitzpatrick was named a 2-time All-American under the coaching of Nick Saban, and he developed into one of college football's best playmakers on the defensive side of the ball; he came away with six interceptions in his sophomore year in 2016, and that knack for creating turnovers was part of what made him such an appealing prospect.
"The key to creating turnovers is simply just doing your job, being in the right place," Fitzpatrick said. "If you're a DB and you try to get picks, you're gonna be out of position, you're gonna be looking at the wrong things, but simply when you're just doing your job and be in the right place, they just come."
But it was initially Saban who ingrained that frame of mind into him, making sure that he didn't slip off the path to greatness, even if it led to some frustration on Fitzpatrick's part.
"I remember one of the first weeks I got there, he was just on me bad, on me hard," he said. "At first I wasn't frustrated because I was usually getting yelled at, but he knew I was making good plays, he was just finding something to tweak, finding something to fix, and it was kinda getting under my skin a little bit because I was like, 'I'm making good plays, why is he still yelling at me?'
"But he saw me getting frustrated one day, and he just told me why he was that way, why he was hard on me specifically. He just told me that it was because he realized how great I could be, and he's not gonna let me get away with slacking, with not doing the right thing, whether it be the smallest of little things, he wasn't gonna let me get away with it."
Now the Miami Dolphins are benefiting from that hard coaching, and under Adam Gase - who utilizes the same brand of leadership, the sky is the limit for the 2018 11th overall pick.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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