Alabama head coach Nick Saban has apologized to a reporter for a response given following his team’s season opener. Last week, someone asked him about quarterback play and the Crimson Tide leader got a bit testy.
Saban has never been one to bite his tongue when it comes to press conferences. He’s been heard in the past lashing out at the media for providing his team with “rat poison” as they hype up the Alabama football program.
Last Saturday, he shot down the praise of one of his most productive players with a sarcastic response.
Alabama’s quarterback battle has been a topic of conversation throughout the 2023 offseason. The Tide had three potential starters in Jalen Milroe, Tyler Buchner, and Ty Simpson. Saban said he wasn’t sure who would take the first snap against Middle Tennesse State last Saturday.
Media members took their best guesses on who would line up under center, stating reasoning for all three. Milroe had the most experience in Tuscaloosa, filling in for an injured Bryce Young in last year’s SEC slate. In his lone start, Alabama beat Texas A&M.
While that would seemingly give him the edge, a number of talking heads believed Buchner or Simpson would give the Crimson Tide the best chance to win.
Simpson entered last year as a five-star freshman, though he wouldn’t see much action on the field. Buchner transferred in from Notre Dame, having a pre-existing relationship with new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.
The latter actually began the year as the Fighting Irish’s starter before injury derailed his season. He would, however, reclaim the role in the team’s bowl win over South Carolina.
When kickoff came, it was Milroe who took the first snap, leading Alabama to a 56-7 win. In the victory, he showed off his dual threat abilities, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for two more.
Both Buchner and Simpson saw the field late, combining for 32 yards on 4-of-6 passing.
After the game, Bama Central beat writer Austin Hannon asked about that performance and how it could impact Milroe’s season moving forward. Saban offered a sarcastic reply, saying he doesn’t have a crystal ball.
Nick Saban, “It’s a Coke Bottle, not a crystal ball.” 😆 pic.twitter.com/ZpuNawy34a
— Kyle Henderson (@BamaYoutube) September 3, 2023
“Are you asking me to speculate and answer a hypothetical question about how some guy’s going to perform in the future?” the head coach said. He then picked up a soda bottle sitting on the podium and dug in further.
“I don’t really know… This is a Coke bottle, it’s not a crystal ball. How do you think he’ll play?”
Nick Saban apologized to the reporter, leading to a comical reply from Lane Kiffin.
This week, Nick Saban singled out the reporter he’d previously snubbed in his Week 2 presser.
Respect 🤝🏼 pic.twitter.com/thluoqCC0B
— Austin Hannon (@austinhannon_) September 7, 2023
“Austin, look you didn’t ask a bad question the other night. I just didn’t answer it very well. When a guy plays well in a game, at any position, it should help his confidence, and it should help him perform better in the future. But I do think that every player, just because they played well, I still want to try to improve the few things that could’ve been done better.
“I think if a person keeps that mindset, then they’re always improving, because you’re never satisfied and you’re always trying to do better. You don’t let complacency creep into your game. That certainly hasn’t happened with Jalen [Milroe], so hopefully the confidence he gained in this game will help him continue to play better and better in the future… That should’ve been my answer the other night.”
The apology comes following an offseason of criticism towards Saban and his relationship with local reporters.
It seems he might’ve heard the negative commentary and acted quickly to try to resolve his most recent tantrum. That led to an all-time response from former assistant and current Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) September 7, 2023
Saban was already in midseason form regarding his pressers, but maybe we’ll seeing a change in approach as the year progresses.