McElwain using Saban blueprint

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Well before the sun climbs out from behind the snow-capped Rockies, Jim McElwain steps into his office on the Colorado State campus and looks over a stack of notes that date back more than four years.

Words like "unity" and "accountability" come up within the scribbled pages of the yellow legal pads, highlighted for emphasis. Responsibility is another theme, understanding the duties of every person in an organization.

McElwain's hurried chicken scratch archives lessons from his time as offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, a veritable how-to manual on coaching the Nick Saban way. Beginning in 2008, McElwain would sit and jot down notes during every team meeting and exercise, learning from the coach he says is the best in the game.