I would be lying to you if I wrote that I expected Nick Saban to comment on Jalen Hurts’ weekend remarks during Saban’s Wednesday press conference. Hurts voiced his displeasure about how the Alabama coaching staff has handled the team’s off-season quarterback competition. Sportsbooks would have put the odds heavily in favor of Saban deflecting commentary when asked about Hurts and moving quickly on to a more pedestrian subject.
But Saban did comment.
His words caught me so off guard that I had to go back and listen four or five times. Then it hit me. Saban didn’t just comment, calmly, on what Hurts said. This may have been his greatest response since being at Alabama.
It wasn’t a rant, it wasn’t said in disgust, anger, or contempt. Nick Saban calmly answered reporters when asked about Hurts.
“Every player has a right to express what he feels and what he thinks,” Saban said. “I think he has every right to do that with every coach or anybody in the organization he has a relationship with, which we certainly do quite often with all players at all positions.”
Saban didn’t go into an epic rant and pivot to a different subject to avoid the question? This reminds me of the first time I broke the rules at home and my mom just looked at me and said something that scared me to my core. She looked at me and said, while holding back her rage, “I’m not going to discipline you, I’m just going to wait and let your dad handle you.”
Oh God. I can still feel the fear. It makes the hair on my arms stand up to this day.
Why was she so calm?
Because she knew that she had done all she could and the situation needed to be handled by someone else. Not a greater authority figure, but an equal, a guy who understood how a guy works and what makes them tick.
In the same way, Saban made a similar move.
Saban had already given both quarterbacks a warning on how to carry themselves and what was expected to win the starting job.
Instead of lashing out, Saban said this:
“This is probably a lot more important to people outside this organization than it is to people inside. I don’t think this has any effect on our team. I talked to a lot of the team leaders. I think the players are focused on what they need to do. The rhetoric will not have anything to do with who’s the quarterback. That will obviously be decided on the field by how people execute and how they do their job.”
First, Saban downplays the entire comment as if to send a message more so to Hurts than anyone else. It’s as if Saban looked right at Hurts and said, “Oh you said that, like it actually means anything inside this building?”
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