Alabama Football: Nick Saban was right about unfairness of late play

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Alabama football coach, Nick Saban has taken massive heat from stating the late play in the Auburn game was unfair. He is absolutely right.

Since Saturday night the national media has attempted to run rough-shod over Alabama football coach, Nick Saban. Saban bashing is low hanging fruit due to actual, even understandable Alabama Crimson Tide – fatigue. College football fans who are not Crimson Tide fans would hate any school, program and coach who had the decade of success achieved by Saban and the Tide.

That no other program or coach has ever had such a decade of success infuriates opposing fans and many college football pundits even more. Nick Saban does not devote a single second of time to being an object of hate. One byproduct of such singleness of purpose is occasionally being too blunt.

An example of such bluntness occurred in the post-game media session after the Iron Bowl. As the college football world well knows, Auburn head coach, Gus Malzahn fancies himself as a master wizard. Nothing pleases Gus more than using a gimmick or stretching a rule to benefit his team.

Instead of consistently fielding a better football team than the Crimson Tide, Gus tries to confuse opponents. His bag of tricks yields enough positive results to justify their use and cloud his other coaching deficiencies.

On nearly the last play of the Iron Bowl, Gus unveiled a new ‘trickeration.’ It involved having both his punter and his quarterback in the game of fourth down. When the Tide staff saw the punter run on the field, it inserted a punt return team. But the punter lined up as a wide receiver so the Tide subbed its defensive team. Amidst the noise and confusion, Tide punt returner, Jaylen Waddle did not hear or see the sideline signals to leave the field. Alabama football was caught with 12 men on the field.

Saban was livid his team was not given more time to sub, given the circumstances. Any fair viewing of his post-game comments will show he thought it unfair his team did not get more time to sub.

Saban said,

"I really feel that it was a pretty unfair play at the end of the game. They substituted the punter as a wide receiver, so we put the punt team in. And then when the quarterback was still in there we tried to put the defense back in. I thought they should have given us a little more time to substitute and get Waddle out as a returner. We get called for 12 guys on the field. So that was very disappointing."

Did Nick Saban also think Gus Malzahn was coaching outside the spirit of the game? He probably did. Saban is likely disdainful of all of Gus’ deception. But what angered Nick more was not being fooled by Gus, but not being given a legitimate chance to get the ball back.

dark. Next. Next for Saban and the Tide

Nick credited Auburn for its win, but we suspect he is still disappointed with the officiating at the end. He has every right to be.