Brace yourself: what you’re about to see is some (gasp!) feelings and a hint of emotion coming from future college football Hall of Famer and current cyborg Nick Saban.
Earlier in the week, Florida assistant Tim Davis was quoted at a booster function as referring to the Alabama head coach as “the devil himself.” That was the second time this offseason that the Prince of Darkness has been brought up in reference to Saban, with Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin referring to the four-time BCS-title-winning coach as “Nicky Satan” in January.
This time, though, it was a little personal for Saban as Davis was a member of his Miami Dolphins staff for two years and spent another year on his Tide staff. That familiarity led to some unexpected — and refreshing — honesty on the part of the coach prior to a Crimson Caravan event Thursday.
“It really is a little terribly disappointing,” Saban said according to al.com. “I try to do right by the people that work for me,” he said. “It’s a tough, demanding job. And at the same time, if anybody had an issue or problem with me, I would want them to just tell me. …
“It’s just disappointing. If somebody has a problem with me, I’d appreciate it if they’d tell me. If I’m doing something to offend somebody, I’d certainly like to do whatever I have to do to fix it. It’s not our intention. It’s not what we try to do.
“We’re in a tough business. It’s very competitive. Sometimes you’ve got to demand that people do things that maybe they don’t want to do, but it’s not personal.”
Also included in Davis’ standup routine — which Saban apparently took to heart way more than we had assumed he would — the Gator offensive line coach took a jab at Saban’s personality, or lack thereof, in propping up his current boss Will Muschamp.
“[Muschamp’s] like [Saban], only he’s got a personality,” the Gator assistant said. “He’ll smile at you. He’ll talk to you. You understand?”
Muschamp also worked under Saban for five years, four at LSU and one with the Dolphins, and the two have a level of respect for the other that goes beyond the football field. It’s that respect that left Saban seemingly biting his tongue when it came to Davis’ personality shot.
“I know it’s not representative of Will Muschamp and the University of Florida and the way they do things,” he said. “I know that, because I’m close enough to Will to know that.”
What will be interesting to see is Muschamp’s response to one of his assistants taking digs at someone who is both a friend and conference competitor, albeit in a different division. Even more interesting? When the damn season gets here so this kind of stuff moves to the background.