We were due. And when Nick Saban was given an opening Wednesday, he took it.
Dialing up one of his news conference rant greatest hits, Saban did what he does with a grooved fastball. With a Group of 5 team on the schedule like Louisiana-Monroe, Saban’s known to find a question that opens the door to harp on respecting the opponent.
He found it Wednesday.
Asked about the difficulty to gauge offensive growth “when the quality of opponent can vary,” Saban did the Saban.
“Well, that’s your opinion on the quality of opponent,” he said. “It’s not mine.”
And was off to the races.
“I respect all the people we play and I respect winning and what you have to do to win. And every player should not be focused on who we’re playing against relative to their motivation but every player should want to be the best player they can be. So why should it matter whether we’re playing Texas or playing somebody else.”
That’s what this all comes down to — the mindset in the locker room. From moments like this to the famous tin horn moment, these rants are designed to reinforce what he just said to the locker room about respecting every opponent.
“That’s how you get good. That’s how you develop the right habits. That’s how you’re consistent.
“I told you guys more than once, when I was in the NFL, when I watched players, I didn’t know who they were playing against,” Saban continued. “I was evaluating them. That means when we play a team that’s not as good as somebody else, you don’t play as good? So you let the opponent determine how you play? You let the score determine how you play? Where you’re playing, that determines how you play? So when you’re getting evaluated, what’s somebody think? Oh, this guy plays pretty good at home, I don’t think we’ll draft him.
“Does that make sense?”
He mentioned some of this Monday when referencing upsets like Appalachian State over Texas A&M or Marshall over Notre Dame.
“What does what you’re favored in a game mean?”
Saban said. “When you’re favored by 20 points and you lose like two teams did this week. What does it mean? It means the people favoring you don’t know what they’re talking about or the players playing got affected by that. Neither one of them are good.”
Alabama is favored by 49 on Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe.