HOOVER | The man famous for instituting the 24-hour rule at the University of Alabama has been asked often recently to relive his team’s painful last-second loss in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
To Nick Saban’s credit, he’s handled each question with graciousness. The game, played more than four months ago, continues to garner a great deal of attention despite Saban’s desire to focus on the now.
Prior to his Regions Pro-Am golf outing Wednesday afternoon, Saban met with reporters. He was asked two questions about his golf game, two questions about rub routes (which was the play Clemson ran to score the winning touchdown) and another question about whether he had spoken with Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn following the Falcons’ last-second loss in the Super Bowl.
The Quinn question was asked by an Atlanta-based reporter, nevertheless, reporters aren’t exactly making it easy for Saban to forget the way his season ended.
“We have talked about it,” Saban said. “He spoke at our clinic. We have a good relationship. He worked with us for a couple of years in Miami. We know how we want to move forward from it. I think there’s a lot of lessons to be learned when bad things happen. There’s always lessons to be learned, regardless of whatever happens.”
Saban, who continues to answer each question patiently, although his patience on the topic might be running thin, expounded on the way the season ended and even got philosophical.
“I think the big thing for our guys is we won (26) games in a row,” Saban said. “I don’t think we took the kind of ownership late in the season that we needed to to be able to be successful, and there’s certainly a lesson to be learned in that because the teams that have been able to accomplish that have been good and finished strong. We didn’t finish the way we wanted, so there’s a lot of lessons to be learned in that.
“Having success is like climbing a mountain. Very few people get to the top. Those who get to the top, don’t stay at the top very long. So the lesson in all that is you just got to keep climbing. You’ve always got to get better, there’s always bigger challenges and everybody’s trying to knock you off the perch. I think that’s a lesson that maybe we were able to learn from that particular game. We played a really, really good team, and I don’t think we played our best against them and that’s disappointing for us. We’re responsible for that as coaches.”