Nick Saban has emerged from his offseason cave.
Thursday marked the final day of the SEC media days, and that meant reporters were able to speak with the Alabama coach.
Fresh off his second championship in two years at Tuscaloosa, Saban hasn’t been heard from in quite some time.
There has been a variety of offseason events that Saban had yet to address, and did so on Thursday.
Thoughts on Altering SEC Schedule
He seemed to be excited when speaking about a potential switch from eight to nine SEC conference games now that Texas A&M and Missouri are officially members of the conference (via al.com):
You play at Alabama, you want to play against Florida some time in your career. When you get more teams, you increase the size of the league by 15 percent. You almost have to play more games. I think that rather than being so division-oriented, what's made this league great is the entire conference, sort of in its entirety.
The league will be using a 6-1-1 format this season, which means every team will play their entire division (East or West), with one permanent cross-divisional rival, and one team from the opposing division, which is rotated every year.
Saban wants to have two games rotated each year (via al.com):
You could play one, rotate two so we would play everybody. I think rotating two is the most important thing because that sort of gets it to where you play everybody in a four-year cycle or pretty close.
It’s an ongoing debate that will surely rage on, but it’s interesting that Saban is so willing to add an extra conference game with a schedule that’s already so daunting.
Thoughts on Penn State
The main story in the world of college football (and sports in general) came up, and naturally Saban tried to avoid being too controversial with his thoughts on the Penn State tragedy.
He suggested the university should issue a ticket tax on sporting events, with the proceeds going to child abuse funds, instead of issuing some sort of punishment (via ESPN.com):
This is a very, very criminal situation that probably reflects poorly on a lot of folks. It's probably too almost raw to really have a feeling that I can express.
Maybe they ought to tax all the tickets that they sell on athletics and give the proceeds to some child abuse organization. Or something like that, rather than worrying about some punishment that is really going to have no positive affect on anything.
Thoughts on Having Too Much Power as a Coach
In a transition of sorts, the conversation turned to the extreme power former Penn State coach Joe Paterno had, and if there was a similar situation at Alabama. With all of the recent success at ‘Bama, there is no question Saban wields plenty of power.
But is it too much? Does the 60-year-old have the ability to overrule the major players in the athletic department? Saban doesn’t believe so (via ESPN.com):
I think if we had any kind of issue it would not be my decision as to what we did. It would be a bigger decision than me, and I would want it to be that way.
Forbes Magazine named him “the most powerful coach in sports” back in 2008, before his recent string of championships. Yet he has only been the coach since 2007, and doesn’t posses nearly the tenure that Paterno had at Penn State.
Saban didn’t say anything too controversial as he showed his veteran chops when it comes to speaking on a microphone. He didn’t say a whole lot about his team, and he didn’t need to.
‘Bama is loaded once again. Five players were selected to the first team of the preseason All-SEC team, which was announced on Thursday.
Center Barrett Jones, tackles D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack represent the offense, while linebacker Nico Johnson and safety Robert Lester are the selections from the defense (via al.com).
Seven more players were selected to the second team.
Life is easy when you are in command of a powerhouse that is teetering on being a dynasty, so the burning questions aren’t about position controversies or the pressure to win.
‘Bama will be entering the 2012 season distraction-free and ready to repeat.