HOOVER, Ala. – Wednesday was Day Three of SEC Media Days and Alabama head coach Nick Saban took the stand to answer questions.
After being canceled last year due to COVID-19, SEC Media Days have returned in full force. Day Three brought with it Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
IT’s the legendary head coach’s 19th appearance at Media Days. He’s been doing it longer than anyone currently in the conference.
One of his best memories of the event is one that people might not expect, “Miss Terry came here with me and was on the seventh floor with our dog, and Miss Terry decides to go shopping and leaves the dog in the room, and the maid opens the door and scared to death, lets the dog out. It was a boxer. And from the seventh floor to the elevator to down here to the interview room, she ends up on my lap. I don’t know how many people have remembered that, but we have some great memories of being here,” he recalled.
Coach Saban also spoke about the topic of how the media should address coaches when asking them a question – first name, last name, coach, etc.
So, on a day where the media is constantly asking him questions, reporters had to address the elephant in the room. What does Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban want to be called by the media?
Saban’s answer, “Look I respond to just about anything and I’ve been called just about everything. So not something that’s really important to me but I think everybody should have the opportunity to sort of create or make aware their expectation of how they get addressed. But it’s not something that’s really significant to me.”
SEC Media Days are, of course really, about the student-athletes.
Every team in the SEC had starters leave, whether they graduated or it was by way of NFL draft. Alabama took a big hit, with ten players drafted, six of those key member of the Tide’s offensive side of the ball.
Looking at the 2020 season, it’s evident that Bama’s offensive group was lethal. The Tide averaged nearly 50 points per game, which is impressive enough, especially during an all-SEC season. With the kind of turnover they’ve had, a lot of guys in the locker room have to step up this year.
“I think we saw a lot of good opportunities and a lot of young guys. I think we saw a lot of potential in a lot of young guys and a lot of young guys that can step up and help. I think it’s a role I’m embracing, having learned from all the guys before me. I’m definitely excited about it. I’m looking forward to being able to teach the young guys things and definitely lead the receiver room,” said John Metchie III, wide receiver, about on more of a leadership role this next season.
Coach Saban also spoke about his players stepping up. “It’s important for us that those guys mature and develop and gain confidence in being able to play those positions whether it’s to become a starter or to be a backup. Who can have a winning performance if necessary and they need to go in the game so we believe in those guys they have a lot of ability they have a lot of talent they’re certainly capable,” he said.
The Tide have been hearing it for years now, the dynasty is over, but Saban and the Crimson Tide have continued to show that they can keep winning and stay dominant. Not just in the SEC but in the nation as well.
After winning the National Title, Devonta Smith put it best, “We don’t stop. We just keep reloading.”
That goes for both sides of the ball. Now, they have a little less experience on offense, there’s some older guys on defense and those guys know they need to show up every day to help this team stay on track.
“Just our hard work and dedication to the game, going out, not taking anything for granted, showing up on time. It starts with the little things, just buying into the team.” Phidarian Mathis, defensive lineman, said Wednesday. “I think this is going to be a very good unit. I feel like we’ve just got to take on a role and live up to the hype. Don’t buy into it, but also show them what we’re capable of once it comes game time.”
One of the spots that is now open for the Tide is the quarterback position. Nick Saban is not one to show his cards, but it’s almost guaranteed that Bryce Young will start for the Crimson and White quarterback week one.
The number two player in the class of 2020 saw limited action as the backup to Mac Jones as a freshman, appearing in nine games at the Capstone.
His teammates have seen what he’s capable of on the field and are looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish in 2021.
“I’m definitely excited for Bryce. You kind of see that he had an awareness out there, had all of the tools. Definitely excited to see him get comfortable in there and play his game,” said Metchie III.
Flipping to the defensive side of the ball, Alabama returns a ton of big-name players, including LaBryan Ray. The former James Clemens standout had battled injuries throughout his college career but when healthy he’s a force to be reckoned with.
“He’s a guy that has a lot of potential, a lot of ability, can really add a lot of maturity and performance to our defense. Hopefully, he can stay healthy this year and have the kind of year and have the kind of year that I know he’s worked hard to be able to have. We’re trying to have the best opportunity to be able to do that,” Saban said.
The Tide’s first game will be September 4th against the Miami Hurricanes at 2:30 p.m.