Alabama Football: Nick Saban researching sideline mask options

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Nick Saban will have to wear a mask for the Alabama football season opener.

Alabama football will open its 2020 campaign against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, but it will be different than any game they have ever played. With limited fans in the stands, an ongoing pandemic and numerous safety protocols to keep athletes safe, expect things to be different for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.

One safety protocol in place for college football involves coaches on the sidelines. Nick Saban and his staff will have to wear masks while coaching the game, and he is doing his best to find the right option.

In his latest press conference, Saban detailed the search for the perfect mask. One challenge with wearing a mask on the sideline is effectively communicating with players on the field. He is hoping to find an option that keeps him safe but doesn’t make it more difficult to talk to players.

Saban has been advocating for masks since early into the pandemic. He did a PSA for the state of Alabama about wearing a mask with Big Al, and he has commented repeatedly on the importance of wearing one.

Saban might be able to find another option, but he will definitely have to wear one. NFL coaches have been fined 100 thousand dollars for not properly wearing a mask during games. The NCAA works differently than the NFL, but they have similar rules about wearing a mask.

One option an NFL coach has been taking for games is a face shield. Andy Reid has worn one beyond his headset to help him communicate with other coaches in the booth. It might not be proven that a face shield is safe for keeping everyone safe, but it is something to consider.

Nick Saban and Alabama football will prioritize health and safety over hyperefficiency. With that being said, they would still like to find an option that does not disrupt communication in a game. It might not matter against Missouri, but communication will be vital in key games down the line.

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It will be interesting to see if Saban can find a better mask option before Saturday.