For the second time this season, we’ve been privileged to get a glimpse into the part of Alabama coach Nick Saban that’s not a myopic, grumpy, brooding football coach. In September, Alabama safety Jordan Battle told the media that Saban loves a good “deez nuts” joke, much to the chagrin of what sounded in the background like a sports information director with a stubbed toe.
On Wednesday, Saban broke character during a press conference. The Athletic reporter Aaron Suttles was trying to ask a question about Alabama linebacker Henry To’oto’o’s ability to become a leader of the defense so quickly into his first season with the team, but Saban couldn’t ignore what was going on in Suttles’ Zoom window. He was bouncing his son on his shoulder, so Saban responded to Suttles’ question with a question of his own.
“I have a question for you,” Saban said to Suttles. “I mean, did I finally get to meet the boss?”
Suttles was waiting for his wife to come home, so he had to keep his son with him during the press conference. An A for effort by him for trying to act like there wasn’t a baby on shoulder, but Saban got in another 17 seconds of improv about the situation, and kept a genuine smile on his face for about 10 of them.
Saban is one of the best recruiters in the country, if not the best. It has been that way for many years and he wasn’t always able to dump a bag of rings on a recruit’s table like Pat Riley, or print out a list of the many players that he’d seen drafted, especially early on, into the NFL. There is some personality required to be a great recruiter. It would behoove some in that position to be quick on their feet, and possibly know how to do the Cupid Shuffle and the Wobble.
Saban’s not going to let the world see that part of him often, because it’s of no use for him to show us the true human being behind his relentless pursuit of perfection. Those of us who aren’t 220 pounds with a 4.5 40-yard dash time can’t help him with that. So we’ll just have to settle for these sporadic viral clips of Saban, improv comic and line dancer.