The old-fashioned call-in show for college football coaches used to be built, more or less, as a review of the team’s preceding game and a preview of the upcoming game, often to help promote ticket sales. Alabama hasn’t had to do that sort of marketing in a long time. Times have changed in other ways as well.
Nick Saban’s weekly show transcends all that, for a number of reasons. For one, there is such blanket coverage of every single injury, every practice, every decision that there isn’t all that much need for a recap, although Saban, as he often does, dropped a nugget of information. He also had some sincere words of praise for the opponent. Those questions — “what about the other team’s defensive line?” and so forth — don’t get asked as much, either. That may have something to do with Alabama fans (not Saban) expecting to win by five touchdowns every week. The opponent in those scenarios become faceless, unfortunately.
On the other hand, Saban’s show is wide-ranging, which makes it interesting in a different way. On Thursday night, listeners got to hear the head coach reminisce fondly over the cars he dreamed about while working at his father’s service station as a teenager. They learned about the condiment situation at Saban’s Lake Burton house (heavy on ketchup, low on mustard). Plus, there was the usual foray into football philosophy from No. 1 college coach in the land. There were no questions about the two topics that have been prominent themes since the summer: last year’s Clemson game and this month’s heat. Just as well, as no one can do anything about either at this point.
The football news of the day concerned offensive guard Deonte Brown, slated to return to the Crimson Tide lineup this week after serving a six-game NCAA suspension.
“Deonte has worked,” Saban said, giving a more expansive answer than he gave at his Monday press conference. “He was injured for a couple of weeks. Most people didn’t realize that because he was suspended, so nobody was really paying attention. He’s fine now. He worked all week as a backup. He’s worked very, very well.
“(Brown) is a talented guy because he’s a very good athlete, he’s got great balance and body control and he’s probably the most powerful, explosive guy that we have on the whole offensive line. There’s some inconsistency because he was sort of an inexperienced player, and I think he’s a lot more mature right now. But he’s always a guy that we’ve struggled with to keep him in shape, to get him in shape, to get his weight to where it needs to be so he can sustain his performance. We will play him in this game, probably at both guards at some point, just to get him back to playing and (to) be able to get some kind of evaluation of him.”
That’s a lot of information and something to watch on Saturday. Meanwhile, if you are watching for a favorite car, look for a vintage two-seat Mercedes, an on-brand decision for the coach since he has an ownership stake in two Mercedes dealerships. If you see either coming at you — Brown pulling from a guard position or Saban driving a pristine sports car to work — you might want to get out of the way.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @cecilhurt