Following Alabama‘s first spring practice of 2017 on Tuesday, a frustrated Nick Saban went on a somewhat bizarre rant while speaking to the media.
It all started when a reporter asked Saban if the Crimson Tide are going to run an offense focused more on “ball-control” after blowing a lead to Clemson in the College Football Playoff Final back in January.
Let’s try to break down this bizarre rant…
Just the mere mention of the loss to Clemson already has Saban upset. Look at the face he’s making while the reporter asks his question:
He’s already preparing to unload on this unfortunate soul before the question is even asked. But, Saban holds off initially and hits us with some good ol’ fashion coach speak…
“We didn’t block ’em. We didn’t execute very well. We didn’t throw the ball accurately when we had open people. And a couple times we dropped it. So I think it was a lack of execution rather than something schematically that we were doing.”
Sounds like Saban is throwing his players under the bus here, but he quickly catches himself…
“And that’s on us as coaches. That’s not to blame anybody but us for not having the players more well prepared.
And then quickly gets back to throwing his team under the bus.
The defense also needs to get itself off the field, you know, on third down, so that they don’t have to play as many plays. So it’s a combination of things. But I do think we could have executed a lot better in that particular game and I think most players will tell you that on both sides of the ball. Not to take anything away from Clemson, but it is what it is. But as we always do, we’re going to self-assess what we did through quality control…”
OK, so far so good. Saban has kept his composure, even if he hasn’t really answered the question asked of him yet.
“But, philosophically, I don’t know where you came up with we’re going to go to ball control.”
Uh oh. He’s raising his voice. This isn’t good.
“That’s not what we do. I mean New England Patriots threw the ball of 60-something percent of the time, which is more than we threw it, so where does that assumption come from?”
Huh, interesting stat (which isn’t accurate), but what does that have to do with Alabama? Nobody mentioned the Patriots. Why would the Patriots’ approach to play-calling have any impact on Alabama’s?
And, the reporter did not assume anything. He simply asked if the results of the national title game would lead to a more ball control approach. Anyway, carry on, Sabes…
“Or do you do what everybody else in the media does and just create some shit and throw it on the wall and see what sticks, which is what I see happening everywhere.”
OK, now he’s really getting upset. He’s about five seconds away from saying “FAKE NEWS,” isn’t he?
“And the people who scream the loudest, they get the attention. And then we pass some rule that everybody has to live with — or some law — and the consequences mess up a lot of other things.”
Now this is getting weird. Saban was asked a simple question about football strategy, and now he’s ranting and raving about rules and laws? What is this really about, Nick? It’s certainly not about ball control offense.
“We do it all the time. We’re doing it right now. The NCAA’s doing it.”
Ohhhhhh, now we’re getting to the real issue. This wasn’t about football strategy or media criticism. Saban is upset about something else. What did the NCAA do now, coach?
“We’re going to change the way we can have summer camps. We can’t have high school coaches working summer camps. I mean it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. It is what it is and whatever they do, they do. So we say we don’t want third-parties dealing with players so we’re not going to let the high school coach bring a guy to camp but some third-party guy can bring him to camp now.
Saban is upset with a new NCAA rule that prohibits high school coaches from attending university-run summer camps. He has a legitimate beef. The rule would increase the involvement of third-party recruiting services, which past NCAA rules have aimed to decrease. But, again: What does this have to do with Alabama going to a ball control offense?
Makes no sense at all. But all the people who have common sense, they don’t say anything about it. But the people who scream the loudest will get the thing changed and it’ll mess everything up. That’s the way it goes. The way it goes in the world, politics, just the way it goes.”
It’s clear that Alabama’s loss to Clemson is still eating at Saban…