Nick Saban Hard To Figure

This column was going to be another riff on the various Nick Saban media policies and the media responses those guidelines have unleashed. You know, let rip another opinion into the cacophony of sound and bluster.

Truth is, quite enough seemed to be written last week about Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban, from a series of national writers to a juvenile, secular one.

Saban is going to spawn plenty of stories. He's that forceful of a personality and the job he holds is a scrutiny tour-de-force.

I've made this observation about the guy so far: you'd be closer to figuring out the reasons behind his actions by banging your head against the wall than you'd be by trying to analyze the moves on a case-by-case basis.

Case in point: the word was freshmen would be essentially OFF LIMITS or available only through painstaking pleading under Saban. The Alabama beat writers sat around with him in mid Februrary and talked this point over with him informally and got only the concession that some freshmen might be more ready and responsible to talk to the press earlier than others. In other words, no promises.

Then, out of the blue last week, in strolls Brian Motley to the interview room to discuss his 11-tackle performance in the first Alabama scrimmage.

Motley, by the way, is a redshirt freshman.

Policy? What policy?

I'm not complaining. So far, we've had plenty of players to talk to, though the interviews come in fits and starts. Zero for a couple of days in a row, then nine dudes on Thursday. Don't get me started on assistant coach access, but maybe it'll pick up. Who knows?

Saban talks to the media two or three times a week and that's just fine. We don't need him every day.

That would be too risky. Too much opportunity for ``dumb questions'' on the one side, too much latitude for angering somebody on the other side.

By the way, the list of things for which Saban made sure to say he was not responsible for after Saturday's scimmage was quite hilarious.

He was not in charge of the weather forecast. It poured rain for significant segments of the scrimmage at Bryant-Denny. To his credit, Saban made that into a character-building challenge for his offense.

He was not in charge of the statistics. The media relations folks kept stats for the open scrimmaging part, but stopped when the situational stuff -- like goal line and what have you -- started. They wanted to make sure to have the stats ready for Saban when he entered his postscrimmage media session. So Saban starts reading off a few stats and discovers that there doesn't seem to be enough carries or pass attempts.

``Seems like we ran it more, so I don't know where these stats came from. Are these from the whole scrimmage? … Three quarters of the scrimmage was situational, so this is not very accurate. This is basically about 50 plays worth of ball, the stats we have here. ... So there was more plays that aren't counted in this than are. It's not my fault. You can call me a jerk, you can put it on national headlines, but I didn't do this.''

Where does this come from?

Dang, I wasn't going to do this.

Thomas Murphy is the Alabama beat writer for the Mobile Register. He is a contributor to 'BAMA Magazine and BamaMag.com.


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