The public saw an unfiltered side of Nick Saban last Saturday night.

Following Alabama’s 51-14 victory over Louisville, ESPN’s Maria Taylor spoke to Saban on the field per usual. She asked him what answers he had now about quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts after watching them both play. And he snapped.

“Well, I still like both guys,” Saban said. “I think both guys are good guys. I think both guys can help our team, all right? So why do you continually try to get me to say something that doesn’t respect one of them? I’m not going to. So quit asking.”

ESPN later reported that Saban called Taylor to apologize. He also admitted Monday during his weekly news conference he could have handled the situation in a better way.

“I pray every Sunday that I never get angry,” Saban said. “But it was a time and circumstance thing for me. I was a little upset by the way we finished the game, the penalties we had, the mental errors that we had. So it was totally my responsibility and we apologize for it.”

Before he addressed the situation with Taylor, Saban took a moment to explain how he loves all of his players, just like a parent loves all of his or her children. He understands some of them do things better than others. He said he wants to support and help every last one of them.

It’s hard for him to portray that message when he feels like he’s being asked to compare the quarterbacks and pick one over the other repeatedly.

“If I get asked to vilify a player and make another one crown prince publicly, I might not respond to that and I need to learn a better way to respond to that,” Saban said. “I will in the future.”

Reach Terrin Waack at or at 205-722-0229.