Nick Saban, head coach at Alabama, arrived at the SEC Media Days in the face of an eventful offseason. Firstly there were the rumors that he might be leaving Tuscaloosa for the bright lights of Austin and the Texas Longhorns. Today there was something going around that UT and its board of regents were preparing a $100m offer for him to dress in burnt orange in 2015 and beyond.
He said: “Well, I didn’t have any conversations with them. Nobody offered me anything. So I guess if I didn’t have any conversations with them, I didn’t have very much interest.
I think the University of Texas is a fantastic place, and they’ve got a lot of wonderful people there, it’s a great institution. But this is about the station in my life where we are. We moved around a lot. If I had to do it over, I’d have just tried to stay in one place and establish a great program, not have all these goals and aspirations of things that eventually, you know, you weren’t happy doing.
So I’m very happy at Alabama. Miss Terry is very happy at Alabama. We certainly enjoy the challenges that we have there, the friends that we have established here. This is where we just choose to, you know, end our career someday. ”
Then there were has been a seemingly endless number of arrests of his football players this offseason, including running back Kenyan Drake for what seems utter stupidity in trying to move his car away from a police scene when specifically told not to.
Saban said: “Now, when somebody proves they can’t be part of an organization, then sometimes you got to get the wrong people off the bus. I get that, all right? But I just want you all to know that we all have to be committed to trying to help our young people from a culture standpoint have a better chance to be successful in their life. That’s something that we’re very much committed to and really is the reason that we coach ’cause that’s the part that I like the best. It gives me the most positive self‑gratification to see somebody have a chance to be successful…...Some of the things that I said before about guys learning how to control their impulsive behavior, choices and decisions, thoughts, habits and priorities, buying into the whole process of what you have to do to be a successful football player in college. Those players are suspended but they’re not kicked off the team,” he said. “They’re suspended from activity. When they prove that I think or we think that they’re ready to come back and show a little bit more responsibility and discipline for how they handle themselves, their decision making, how they represent the university, their family and themselves, then we’ll allow them to come back on the team.”
Speaking of the team, he had some nice things to say about new offensive co-ordinator Lane Kiffin. “Lane Kiffin has done a really, really good job for us. The players have responded to him very well. New energy, new enthusiasm, new ideas to do some things offensively that would enhance our chances of being successful. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to work with him.”
As for the SEC schedule, Saban wasn’t shy about saying that all the SEC teams should play each other – even if it might be to their disadvantage down the line. “I played in the NFL for eight years. We had 32 teams in the league. We all played the 32 teams in the league. I think that we’re talking about going to this five conference sort of whatever we’re going to call it, big five or whatever it is. I’d be all for playing all of our games against those guys. You know, it’s what the fans want. I mean, we need to be more concerned about the people who support the programs and the university and come and see the games. I mean, those are the most important….I know that everybody thinks I’m crazy, but I think that, you know, every player that comes to an SEC school should play every team in the SEC, which means you have to play two or three teams on the other side. Well, you can’t expand the conference and not expand the number of games you play to be able to do that.
I’m the only coach that’s interested in doing that, so… People should make those decisions beyond us. They should do it based on what is in the best interest of our league and college football in general. ”
He added that those who had a rough schedule and finished with a losing record should go to bowl games: “I think they should pick everybody like they do in basketball. If you go 5‑7, you have a quality schedule, you can still get in a bowl game, rather than somebody trying to manipulate their schedule, go 6‑6 so they can get in a bowl game.”
Excellent. Does that include playing ‘bigger’ opponents in Cowboys Stadium or in the Georgia Dome instead of playing home/home schedules, which would liven up college football beyond belief. I know that Alabama fans would rather have a home/home against Michigan – with the chance to go up to Ann Arbor as they did to Beaver Stadium a few years ago – rather than play in the more placid Cowboys Stadium? And does that include playing ‘lesser schools’ too?
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