Day 3 of SEC Media days has officially kicked off — as Ohio State/Auburn fans already know — and leading off the festivities was, along with the Ol’ Ball Coach, the headliner of the four-day event, Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
Not surprisingly, the man entering his ninth year in Tuscaloosa was asked a variety of questions on myriad topics, with those questions encompassing both on- and off-field issues his Tide and the game of college football are currently facing. One in particular, involving what some are already perceiving as an excuse for the semifinal loss to Ohio State in the College Football Playoff, will likely grab most of the headlines.
And in that vein, with a note-by-note look at Saban’s half-hour at the podium, we’ll lead off with The Nicktator’s complaint regarding NFL draft grades.
PUSH BACK NFL DRAFT GRADES
Saban expressed his displeasure at the fact that the NFL delivered its grades to the Tide’s draft-eligible players Dec. 15, while his squad was in the midst of preparing for its CFP matchup with the Buckeyes. According to Saban, his team’s chemistry between the SEC Championship game and the Sugar Bowl (semifinal) was affected by those draft grades, and that some players played not to get hurt in the game.
The solution to that “problem,” per Saban, is for the NFL to not release the draft grades until the player has played his last game. That would mean the NFL would need to push back the deadline for declaring for the draft from Jan. 15 to a week to 10 days later.
One thought on this: didn’t Ohio State’s players also receive their NFL draft grades around that same time? Just thinking out loud. Spitballin’, if you will.
If the NFL draft grades brouhaha doesn’t grab the headlines, this one likely will.
The UA football program sustained a bit of a black eye earlier this year when Jonathan Taylor was dismissed from the Tide after he was arrested on a domestic violence charge. If it were Taylor’s first offense, it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. However, the defensive lineman was dismissed by Georgia last July after he was arrested on similar charges, then given a controversial second chance by Saban.
So, does the coach regret giving Taylor a second chance? From al.com:
Says it’s an emotional and complicated issue. Saban said he does not regret giving a player an opportunity and [Taylor] didn’t get due process in the case.
Saban did say “we don’t condone domestic violence in our program,” although that stance doesn’t mesh with his initial decision to give a second chance to a player already charged with domestic violence.
CONFEDERATE FLAG FLAP
With the likes of its Head Ball Coach and his boss joining the overwhelming chorus of voices calling for its removal, it was announced earlier this month that the Confederate flag would no longer fly over the South Carolina Capitol grounds. In a move that should surprise no one, Saban was asked about the flag flap during his time at the podium and (surprise!) the coach is against anything as divisive as the symbol that’s been co-opted by hate groups.
“My opinion is anytime we have a symbol that represents something that’s mean-spirited or doesn’t represent equal rights for all people, that I’m not for having that symbol represent anything we’re involved in,” Saban said. “It’s not my decision what the governor does or what our university does. It’s just my opinion and how I feel about symbols that are not positive towards human rights and everybody having equal opportunity.”
AND THE STARTER UNDER CENTER IS…
In a move that will surprise absolutely no one, Saban didn’t tip his hand when it comes to a starter at the quarterback position. And a big reason why he didn’t tip anything? The Tide’s waiting for someone to take “the bull by the horns” and grab the starting job. That didn’t happen in the spring, and the competition will resume in summer camp early next month.
Jake Coker is still the presumptive front-runner for the job, although those around the program are disappointed he has yet to grab the job by the throat and run with it. In that vein, Saban stated that there are still “several guys” still fighting for the job, and that group would include Alec Morris, Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell and freshman Blake Barnett.