Another epic Nick Saban rant, as he asks media: "Did any of you play sports?!"
In the best of times, Nick Saban is surly during his mid-week media availability.
But you knew that Saban would have extra white-hot venom this week, after a narrow win at the Swamp on Saturday afternoon against Florida.
And that's exactly what we got on Wednesday afternoon from the who-knows-how-many-time national championship coach (seriously, how many has Saban won now? Six? Seven? I kinda lost track post-AJ McCarron).
The question centered around tight end Jahleel Billingsley. If you remember, Billingsley was the player that was in Saban's dog house in fall camp, as the frustrated coach said that it was up to the talented tight end as to whether he moved up the depth chart or not.
Well Billingsley has, and even scored a touchdown Saturday at Florida.
Saban was asked about why he was seeing more playing time, and delivered this epic rant, including the classic line, asking the reporter "Did any of you play sports."
“Well he’s doing what he is supposed to do, he’s practicing better, he’s more engaged and he’s more focused on what he is supposed to do and he’s having more positive performance on the field, which is what any player is supposed to do,” Saban replied.
“Did any of you play sports? I mean, the coach is supposed to play the best players, right?” Saban posited. “Then it’s up to the players to do what they’re supposed to do so they get to play because that means they’re one of the best players now. So that’s what [Jahleel]’s doing now.
“But maybe if you didn’t play, maybe that’s not something you quite get.”
While reading the quote above sounds bad - I mean, asking a reporter if he played sports isn't exactly the nicest thing you could say - if you actually listen to the quote in real time, it's not nearly as bad. Saban's broader point about Billingsley - that he's actually earning his playing time right now - shouldn't go unnoticed as well.
Still, it was peak Saban, and the only thing that was surprising is how unsurprising it was. It also makes me wonder, could any other coach get away with that? Probably not.
I mean imagine if Jim Harbaugh said something like that? Pretty sure every single person in college media would rush to condemn him. Ryan Day or Lincoln Riley? Would legit be the most interesting thing they'd ever said... then they'd get crushed. Pretty much the same for anyone else.
But when Saban says something like that, the response is pretty much just "Oh, that's Nick being Nick!"
Still, again, Saban's broader point still stands. Billingsley has played himself out of the dog house, and has been much better - at least on the field, on game day's - the last few weeks. Included: A touchdown grab this week in the Swamp.
We'll see how he, and the Tide play this week, as they get set to face Southern Miss on Saturday, before a mega-showdown next Saturday against Ole Miss.
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