On Thursday night, Nick Saban quietly put the college football world on notice. His words about this season’s Alabama football team will go unrecognized by many national media blowhards, whose specialty is negative opinions of Saban and the Crimson Tide. But for those who pay attention, what Saban said was significant. And for Alabama football fans it was sweet music.
For many years, the most insight into what Saban truly thinks has come on Thursday nights during the football season. Alabama’s “Hey Coach’ radio show covers all Crimson Tide sports, but its biggest star and draw is always Nick Saban.
For whatever reason, Saban is less guarded on the Thursday night shows. Maybe it is because he knows there will be no or few questions posed that he doesn’t want to answer. Saban, of course, has a plan for everything. Public statements are rarely spontaneous. But on Hey Coach, a more relaxed than normal Nick Saban is more likely to allow glimpses behind the Crimson Tide curtain.
On Thursday night, Nick Saban talked about the 2023 Alabama Crimson Tide team.
"I don’t know if this team is talented enough to win a championship, but I do think they’ve shown signs of having the right stuff. … I don’t know if we have enough talent to do it … [but] I’ve been encouraged by the, sort of, competitive character this team has."
A few Alabama fans may squirm a bit about Saban appearing unsure about the level of talent on his team. Don’t be concerned. Nick Saban knows better and in more detail than anyone else that the Crimson Tide is at least one of CFB’s most talented teams. Others have estimated Alabama has the ‘most talented team’ and they are not wrong. Nick Saban would never admit that. To Nick Saban, admitting the Tide’s level of talent would risk some complacency from his players as a response.
What matters in Saban’s comment are eight words, “they’ve shown signs of having the right stuff.” Nick Saban is always cautious in praise of his teams. Admitting this season’s team has already shown signs of the ‘right stuff’ is tantamount to saying Alabama has what it takes to win it all.
Saban’s words excite Alabama football fans, but patience will be required. There will be growing pains. The quarterback situation must become settled. The offensive line and the secondary need time to gel. Young depth on the defensive line needs game reps to realize potential. But by sometime in October, the rest of the college football world could find the Crimson Tide too much to handle.