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WATCH: Nick Saban launches quintessential Nick Saban rant


The calendar may say March, but Nick Saban‘s testiness with the media screams mid-October.

Tuesday, Alabama kicked off spring practice as the Crimson Tide begins preparing for the 2017 season.  Afterward, and as is standard practice, the head coach met with the media to review the day’s proceedings and gave an overview of the current state of his squad.

One particular question, however, raised Saban’s dander, with the offending party having the gall to ask about the Tide returning to a “ball-control” mentality based on how the national championship game loss played out.  That was enough to set Saban off, with the coach initially teeing off on the questioner — “[D]o you do what everybody else in the media does,  just create some shit, put it on the wall and see what sticks?” — before veering off on a tangent about an NCAA rule regarding high school coaches; dipping his toes into the loud noise surrounding politics; and finally getting back to the original topic.

Below is the transcript of Saban’s rant, followed by video of his latest measured tongue-lashing of the media.

There, there, there, there was nothing, you know we didn’t block them, we didn’t execute very well. We didn’t throw the ball accurately when we had open people and a couple of times we dropped it, so I think it was more a lack of execution than something schematically that we were doing, and that’s on us as coaches. That’s not to blame anybody but us for not having players more well-prepared. You know, the defense also needs to get themselves off the field on third down so that they don’t have to play as many plays, so it’s a combination of things.

“I do think that we could have executed a lot better in that particular game and I think most players would probably tell you that on both sides of the ball — not to take anything away from Clemson — but it is what it is. But, as we always do, we’re going to self-assess what we did through quality control, what we did well, what we need to improve on, visit people [to] try to get better at the things we need to do better. I don’t, philosophically, we’re not, I don’t know where you came up with where we need to go to ball control. That’s not what we do. I mean, 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 do what everybody else in the media does, just create some shit, put it on the wall and see what sticks, which is what I see happening everywhere. And people who scream the loudest, they kind of 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. Do it all the time. We’re doing it right now. The NC-double-A is doing it. We’re gonna 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 that I’ve ever seen. But it is what it is and whatever they do they do.

“So we say we don’t want third-parties dealing with players so we’re not going to let the high school coach bring a guy to camp but some third-party guy can bring him to camp now. Makes no sense at all. I mean, but all the people who have common sense, they won’t say anything about it. But the people who scream the loudest will get the thing changed and it’ll mess everything up. It’s the way it goes. The way it goes in the world, politics, just the way it goes. Same thing way with you: we’re going to be more conservative now and ball-control offense. Where did that come from? I never said that. Nobody in this building ever said that, so where’d you come up with that? Just, you know, had a dream about it or what? If we had caught some passes in the national championship game, we had guys open, we wouldn’t have had to control the ball. We would have scored more touchdowns.

North Carolina formally announces hiring of ex-Tennessee RBs coach Robert Gillespie

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The latest addition to Larry Fedora‘s North Carolina coaching staff has been confirmed.

Following up on reports that surfaced earlier this month. UNC announced Wednesday that Fedora has hired Robert Gillespie. While not confirmed by the football program in the release, it’s expected Gillespie will serve as the Tar Heels running backs coach, a position he’s held for most of his coaching career.

“We are excited to welcome Robert and his family to Chapel Hill,” Fedora said in a statement. “He has a well-earned reputation as a great offensive coach and recruiter, and he has a wealth of experience working with running backs at a very high level. We are happy to have him join our staff as we get into the bulk of spring practice.”

Gillespie fills the hole created by the departure of Gunter Brewer, who left as the Tar Heels’ wide receivers coach for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month. It’s expected that Luke Paschall, currently the running backs coach, will assume Brewer’s role with receivers.

Gillespie, a former Florida running back, spent the past five seasons as the running backs coach at Tennessee. He was originally retained by new UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt before parting ways with the football program shortly after National Signing Day.

In addition to UT, Gillespie has spent time on coaching staffs at South Carolina (2006-08), Oklahoma State (2009-10) and West Virginia (2011-12). He was the running backs coach at each of those stops.

Report: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s thumb injury ‘just a sprain’

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It appears Alabama can breathe a sigh of relief on the injury front.

Tuesday, after the reigning national champions had put the finishing touches on its first practice of the spring, Nick Saban confirmed that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had suffered an unspecified injury to the thumb on his LEFT (throwing) hand.  It was expected that the quarterback would travel to Birmingham for further evaluation of the injury.

While there’s been nothing official yet from the football program or head coach,, citing unnamed sources, writes that the injury “is believed to just be a sprain and he should be able to return to practice in at least a limited capacity at some point soon.”

Until then, Jalen Hurts will take the majority of the reps as the Crimson Tide continues its march through their 15 spring practice sessions.

The rising true junior Hurts, who has started every game but one the past two seasons, and the rising true sophomore Tagovailoa, the national championship game hero who replaced Hurts at halftime of the overtime win, are engaged in a competition for the starting job that, barring a post-spring transfer, is expected to extend into summer camp.  That said, most observers outside of the UA football program fully expect Tagovailoa, because of his proficiency in the passing game relative to Hurts, to earn the job at some point before the Tide opens the defense of their title against Louisville in Orlando Sept. 1.

John Calipari takes page out of Nick Saban’s playbook by warning of (rat) poison

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One’s a dot, two’s a line and three’s a trend as the old adage go and it appears rat poison for college players is now a burgeoning trend.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of Kentucky’s NCAA tournament game against Kansas State, Wildcats coach John Calipari took a page straight out of Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin’s playbook by warning his team of drinking the media “poison” the past few days.

“My challenge is making sure these kids don’t drink that poison. That poison being we have an easy road. There are no easy roads in this tournament,” said Calipari. “If they drink that poison, we’ll be done Thursday. If they don’t drink the poison, it’ll be a dog fight Thursday — let’s see what happens. Sometimes you wonder why they’re (the media) trying to paint that picture with my team — probably because they’re young and they know they don’t know better.”

Ok then.

At least the term Calipari is using isn’t out of thin air given that Saban infamously ranted on his team buying into the media’s discussion of being a good team as “rat poison” last season. For the record though, the rant by the basketball coach was prompted by a question that didn’t at all involve Kentucky having an easy path to the Final Four but was rather about team and individual goals.

It’s not often you think of Saban as a trendsetter but it seems he was certainly ahead of the curve when it came to labeling media talk as poison.

Harbaugh hits primetime again as Michigan announces spring game under the lights

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Jim Harbaugh is already getting a series on Amazon Prime but now the Michigan head coach is also getting the primetime treatment.

The Wolverines announced on Tuesday that the annual spring game would take place under the lights at Michigan Stadium this year and would be televised live in primetime on the Big Ten Network.

Gates will open to the game two hours prior to kickoff and the maize and blue faithful may try to do their best to get to Ann Arbor early because the school is going to screen an episode of the Amazon series  “All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines” prior to the game. This will be the second time in three years that the school will go under the lights to play their spring game at night but obviously the first time there’s a documentary series that will be screened prior to the Wolverines taking the field.

The game may be worth tuning in for to see Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson in action with his new team after arriving in the offseason. The NCAA still has not ruled on whether he will be immediately eligible in 2018 but he is expected to go through spring drills with the team either way, starting this week when practices begin on Friday.