(Alabama coach Nick Saban reacts to a call on the sideline vs. Michigan Saturday night. Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons, US Presswire)
Alabama coach Nick Saban has it all. Three BCS titles. His defending national champion Crimson Tide hit No. 1 in the Associated Press poll after pounding Michigan 41-14 Saturday night. But the self-important Saban can’t get over himself — or get out of his own way when it comes to simple TV interviews.
Saban was it again on ESPN/ABC Saturday night, putting down sideline reporter Heather Cox when she asked him an easy question during the standard halftime interview.
Saban had used running backs T.J. Yeldon, Eddie Lacy and Jalston Fowler to cut up the Wolverines defense on the way to a 31-7 halftime lead. When Cox asked how the “running-back-by-committee” approach helped his offense, Saban didn’t like the question.
He shot back at Cox: “I don’t think it’s running back-by-committee. I think it’s a lot of good players getting an opportunity to play, so, you know, I don’t know what’s wrong with that.”
Cox seemed surprised. “It’s all good, thanks coach,” she said.
Saban’s blunt response drew a nervous chuckle from ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musberger. “I don’t think anybody said there’s anything wrong with it,” said Herbstreit.
Hey Nick, get over yourself would you please? Here’s Cox in her new role replacing Erin Andrews (now at Fox) and you make her look bad on national TV? For what? As Larry Brown Sports noted:
“Easy there, Saban. Nobody said there’s anything wrong with it. The only thing that’s wrong is you lashing out against Cox over an issue of semantics. She was throwing you a softball question that was a lead-in to praise your running backs, but instead you bite her head off. I’m not sure if Saban dislikes the term “running back-by-committee” for recruiting purposes, but that was really overboard.”
Funny Saban should be such a stickler for accuracy in media. He’s the same coach who angrily and repeatedly repeatedly denied he was interested in leaving the NFL’s Miami Dolphins for Alabama — until the day he quit the Dolphins and took the ‘Bama job.
As Yahoo Sports! columnist Pat Forde (then with ESPN) wrote at the time: Saban “only lied when his lips were moving.”
Let this be a lesson to the ESPN brass in Bristol, Conn., who go out of their way to employ high-profile college NFL coaches when they’re out of a job and looking to improve their visibility/marketability. Most hold the TV media in contempt unless they can use it for their own purposes. Right Nick?