Like all of us, Nick Saban has his good days and his bad days. But be careful not to suggest he has idle days.
The Alabama head football coach took what seemed to be good-natured umbrage at the suggestion that Wednesday’s National Signing Day was something other than busy, the kind of jam-packed day which, for Saban, is business as usual.
“Was it what we expected?,” Saban said when asked about a day with three signees. “Did you take math? Did you learn how to add when you did have math class? We only could sign three guys. Twenty-two (December signees) plus three equals 25 — based on math. So that’s what we expected.
“But it was a busy day because the calendar has moved up,” Saban said as he downshifted into explanatory mode. “I spent the whole day talking to next year’s recruits. I talked to 22 guys today and I think 14 yesterday, so it was very busy. By the end of the day, I was stuttering on the phone. That’s how busy it was.
“Recruiting has changed. Ten years ago, I used to sit in my office and do nothing but recruit for this class on this day. You’d try to make sure that everyone had signed, that everything was going the way it was supposed to go.
“Today, I didn’t talk to a single recruit for this class. I talked to 22 guys for next year.”
While most of the groundwork was done in December, not on Wednesday, Saban did seem pleased with the 2020 class, especially in terms of addressing needs in the defensive front seven and at quarterback.
The 2021 class — the one that Saban spent his day calling — will probably focus on offensive linemen, wide receivers and cornerbacks. It will also include another quarterback — Alabama already has a commitment from 6-foot-5, 210-pound prospect Drake Maye — because in the Age of the Transfer Portal, quarterbacks can come and go so quickly.
Thirteen of the Crimson Tide signees, including quarterback Bryce Young, are already on campus, a trend Saban feels is positive since it “accelerates the learning curve.” As always, he gave few specifics about which players might make an immediate impact but there are certainly openings, especially on defense.
The best news for Alabama was Saban seems to enjoy the process as he always has, recruiting mainly in person or on the telephone — never by texting, since he feels sorry for people who “are walking into the wall looking down at their phone, not even knowing a guy across the street is getting shot (because) they can’t take their eyes off their phone.”
He noted the time demands when discussing the decision of his former assistant coach, Mark Dantonio, to step down at Michigan State.
“I enjoy recruiting,” he said, and seems fully charged for 2021, even on the day that 2020 recruiting finally ended.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @cecilhurt