Nick Saban is at it again. The irascible head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide dressed down another reporter during a press conference ahead of a late-season non-conference matchup with the Charleston Southern College Buccanneers. A warm-up game prior to next week's Iron Bowl rivalry with Auburn, Charleston Southern is a small Division I FCS school out of the Big South Conference that in any sensible world should be a cakewalk for the nation's Number 2 squad. However, Saban did his best to destroy that notion by dropping a few choice obscene terms in response to a question about Buccaneers quarterback Austin Brown, a former Division I quarterback at UAB.
For all intents and purposes, Saban's answer had little - if anything at all - to do with the question. Instead, he took the occasion to launch a tangent about the press' typical line of questioning during the Tide's occasional games against less-than-stellar opponents. "A lot of people take a lot of things for granted and I get asked a lot of questions like 'how important is for the young guys to get to play this week' Well, how in the h*** do you know they're going to get to play," Saban said.
As he got rolling Saban mentioned a late-season game during Alabama's 2011 National Championship season against another FCS opponent, Georgia Southern. Alabama won that contest 45-21, but not before the GSU Eagles ran for over 300 yards and becoming the first and only team to score more than 20 points against what many experts believe was one of the best defenses in modern college football history.
"Y'all don't remember the Georgia Sothern game, do you?," Saban said to the crowd of football writers. "They run through our a** like s*** through a tin horn and we could not stop them. Could not stop 'em."
(Note: The Gospel Herald has chosen to not print his unedited comments on this website, but you can click here to see a video of the press conference and hear Saban's comments for yourself.)
Saban's thorny relationship with the press is well documented, and this is not the first time he's gone after the sports media this season. On October 5, following the Tide's huge win over the Georgia Bulldogs and just two weeks removed from a tough loss to Ole Miss. After fielding a question about how his players handle the noise and chatter about them in the media, Saban unloaded saying, "I say the same thing as when y'all buried us last week. It really doesn't matter what you think. It really doesn't matter what you say."
"I'm hoping that nobody on our team is playing for you," he continued. "I hope they're playing for each other, and their team and what they want to accomplish, and not what you think. We're going to work hard to make our team better and I hope the players respond the right way, and it's not going to be for you! The fans, yes, because if it was up to you, we're six feet under already."
This was the first time, however, that Saban used profanity to this degree during his remarks to the press. The phrase in question comes from General George S. Patton's speech to the Third Army on June 5, 1944, and then dramatized by Geroge C. Scott in the movie Patton:
"Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like s*** through a tin horn!"
Saban clearly admires Patton and makes comments such as these as a way to inspire his players to play their best each week. In addition, the response to the most recent #Sabanrant has been almost universally positive, either by fans who themselves were inspired or by those who found them funny. A devout Catholic, Saban attends mass prior to every game. Still this is college football, not war, and one wonders if the use of vulgarity outside the locker room by the sport's highest profile coach is necessary.