Alabama Football: A testy Nick Saban has Mac Jones’ back

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Nick Saban’s weekly Wednesday Alabama football press conference ended after Saban bristled about premises in a QB substitution question.

Alabama football coach, Nick Saban has a reputation for being prickly at times. That reputation has been overblown by the media. The great majority of the time, Nick Saban gives a thoughtful answer to every question.

But not always – questions about hypothetical situations are deemed by Saban as wastes of mental energy. What gets to Saban the most is when anyone suggests an upcoming opponent is unworthy. No matter how poorly an upcoming team has performed in recent games, Nick Saban will not take them for granted.

Check out today’s press conference-ending exchange.

A testy Nick Saban is always okay for Alabama football fans. A fiery Nick Saban is even better. Saban is not willing to take Arkansas for granted. Saban does not want to disrespect a fellow coaching professional. Saban also knows if he admits an opponent is weak, so will his players and the result will be poor preparation.

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Long before the question in the video was complete, most in the room knew what was coming next. The question formed three suppositions – one is too much for Saban. The first supposition was the Arkansas game could be treated as a practice game. The second supposition was that former third-team QB, Taulia Tagovailoa needed to be prepped for a future game. The third being that prepping Taulia was necessary because of the possibility his older brother cannot play against LSU.

In just one question, the upcoming opponent was disrespected, the current QB1 was disrespected and it was presumed Tua would not be healthy for LSU. Saban was having none of it.

There may well be a plan to get Taulia Tagovailoa meaningful playing time against the Hogs. Nick Saban is not going to announce that plan in advance. Talking about using Taulia can only undermine the confidence now required of Mac Jones. As Saban said earlier in the press event, “Mac Jones needs to take charge.”

What Nick Saban says on Wednesday of Arkansas week is not intended to enlighten what will happen when LSU comes to Tuscaloosa. For one, Nick Saban does not know how rapidly Tua Tagovailoa can recover from the ankle injury and surgery. Saban’s primary job this week is to beat Arkansas. Next to that in importance is shaping Mac Jones’ potential to the level of a big game-winning SEC QB.

Taulia Tagovailoa does need game experience as the current backup. Nick Saban will not let Lia’s need for game experience take precedence over beating Arkansas or building confidence in Mac Jones.

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Make no mistake, what Nick Saban on Wednesday was crafted to beat Arkansas – and LSU.  Like the head coach, Alabama football fans need to fully support Mac Jones.