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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Don't be fooled by SEC Media Days Saban

by Wally Hall | July 22, 2021 at 2:32 a.m.

HOOVER, Ala. -- Based solely on the 32 minutes Nick Saban donates each year at this annual event, no one would guess he is the G.O.A.T., but the fact he parked his Mercedes in front of the hotel door for two hours makes you think he knows it.

The Alabama head football coach made a 10-minute opening statement and answered nine questions during his time with the print media at SEC Football Media Days on Wednesday.

He must practice for days for the event. He shows zero personality, zero ego and zero pride.

Almost friendly, he retold the story about the time he brought his wife and dog to media days, and she got tired of waiting and went shopping. When the maid later opened the door, the dog escaped, managed to get down seven stories and jumped into Saban's lap.

So he is human. He has a wife and a dog.

Saban and his wife have a foundation that he rarely talks about, but soon they will finish building the 27th home for a family in need.

Yet, he didn't bring that up or his seven championship rings. To the media, he doesn't talk about the past or hint at the future.

He came across as semi-pleasant on this day, and he thanked the media for promoting the athletes he doesn't make available unless mandated by a bowl or the SEC.

There have been times in the past he has practically filibustered during his required time on the podium. Wednesday he left 22 minutes for questions and answers.

His answers averaged about two minutes apiece, and he didn't give even a glimpse about how great the Alabama Crimson Tide will be again.

He seesawed on the vaccination for covid-19, saying it was a player's choice, but he should consider how it affects a team. He mentioned North Carolina State's departure from the College World Series because of positive tests, and what is currently happening with the New York Yankees.

It wouldn't be surprising if there is a 5-star recruit out there who Saban wants, whether he's vaccinated or not.

Current events such as name, image and likeness got a standard answer that whatever he said might be wrong in a year, and that there was still too much to learn.

He didn't mention that potential starting quarterback Bryce Young is closing in on a million dollars in endorsements, but he probably brings that up a dozen times with recruits.

He commended SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey on how he handled covid last season and what a great job the conference did by being patient.

Basically, Saban comes across like a CIA agent.

Yet his record speaks for itself.

He can be as monotone as he wants in front of several hundred reporters. Everyone knows that the moment he leaves the room he will be consumed with winning.

Saban goes through a lot of assistants, so there's no doubt he's hard to work for, but he did surprise the crowd by saying really nice things about Lane Kiffin, the Ole Miss head coach who left Saban the first chance he got.

Saban drives players and coaches, and he dares them to outwork him.

That is why he has won six national championships in 14 years at Alabama and has an overall record of 165-23 and 96-15 in the country's toughest football league outside the NFL.

Not once in his 19 appearances at these meetings, including five with LSU, has he ever revealed anything about the upcoming season.

Saban, who will be 70 on Halloween, hasn't really mellowed in all these years with the media on this one day, but as the G.O.A.T. he can make everyone entering the Hyatt Regency walk around his car.

Print Headline: Don't be fooled by SEC Media Days Saban


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