Jim Harbaugh prefers Twitter as the space to hold court on matters he’s pissed off about; Nick Saban is old-fashioned—a presser with an eager reporter will do just fine.
The Alabama head coach met with press members yesterday for a Q&A to go over the upcoming season and the Crimson Tide roster heading into spring practices. Some would say Saban lost his cool; others would say he completed a planned mission to complain about an NCAA rule change concerning summer camps.
Rather than complain online, wait for a question on summer camps to come up, or proactively address it in his opening statement, Saban played the room like a grizzled vet—he waited for a reporter to ask him whether he was placing an emphasis on implementing more ball-control offense after losing the time-of-possession battle to Clemson by nine minutes in the title game. Then, after he had pantsed said reporter for asking what he deemed to be a stupid question, he slid seamlessly in his grievance with the NCAA.
(The question is asked at the 6:40 mark; Saban starts heating up around the eight-minute mark.)
Here’s the good stuff from Saban, after he finishes explaining that Alabama just dropped some passes in the national title game:
I don’t know where you came up with we’re going to go to ball-control. The New England Patriots threw the ball over 60-some percent of the time, which is more than we threw it, so where does that assumption come from? Or do you what everybody else in the media does and create some shit and throw it on the wall and see what sticks, which is what I see everywhere. People who scream the loudest, they get the attention and we pass some rule that everybody has to live with or some law, and the consequences mess up a lot of other things.
We do it all the time. We’re doing it right now. The NCAA’s doing it. We’re going to change the way we have summer camps, we can’t have high school coaches working summer camps. I mean, it’s the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen, but it is what it is and whatever they do, they do. We say we don’t want third parties dealing with players, so we’re not going to let the coach bring him to camp but some third-party guy can bring him to camp now. Makes no sense at all. All the people who have common sense won’t say anything about it. But the people who scream the loudest get the thing changed and it’ll mess everything up. It’s the way it goes. In the world, in politics. Just the way it goes.
Same thing with you. We’re going to be conservative with ball-control offense? I never said that, nobody in this building ever said that, so where’d you come up with that? Just had a dream about it or what? If we had caught some balls in the national championship, we had guys open, we wouldn’t have had to control the ball, we’d have scored more touchdowns.
It’s really impressive how smoothly Saban goes from being mad about the question concerning ball control, to being mad about summer camps, and then back to being mad about his supposed ball-control offense. This is a master class in being grouchy.