Saban Not Happy With Reporters

You didn't read it here. It was a hot day on the Alabama practice field (a high of 97 in Tuscaloosa Tuesday) and it was hot in the post-practice press briefing from Coach Nick Saban, too. And he had a right to be upset with one or more reporters.

Here's the deal Alabama Coach Nick Saban has made with those reporters who cover the Crimson Tide on a daily basis. We can go to practice for a few minutes during individual work. Once team work begins, we're escorted out.

To be honest, I find "the viewing," as I call it, to be not so valuable. It would be helpful to reporters to be able to watch practice, as was the case Sunday (for sportswriters and anyone else who wanted to watch). Watching individual work can leave the wrong impression.

And that, apparently, happened Monday—but not by me. (Saban doesn't differentiate. If one reporter irks him, all reporters are guilty in his eyes.) Someone watched the few minutes of individual work, then wrote that a player was working with the first unit. And this wasn't the first time it has happened.

Saban has made it perfectly clear that there is no depth chart and it is wrong for reporters watching a few minutes of practice to infer one from what they see. It is a challenge for those who have covered football to expunge the depth chart mentality. And the longer one has been accustomed to dealing in a depth chart, the more difficult it is.

If I see Andre Smith at left tackle and Antoine Caldwell at center, I tend to conclude that the man between them is the first team left guard.

We do publish a so-called depth chart from time-to-time in ‘BAMA Magazine or here on our website. We have also written again and again that any depth chart we publish is a guess, not an official University of Alabama depth chart.

In his lecture to reporters Tuesday, Saban made even clearer the Alabama system. He explained that at some positions there are players who have demonstrated they are the best. At other positions, there are groups of players who have demonstrated they have the potential to move into that first tier status.

Some may think that Coach Saban over-reacts, or that the issue is not particularly important. The fact is, it is important to him. He has made it clear that he thinks it is important to the players. That makes it important to the team.

His emphasis on this parameter is reasonable.

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