ESPN's Seth Greenberg says his nerves meeting Nick Saban only matched by meeting Pat Riley
- ESPN's Seth Greenberg visited recent Alabama football practice
- As New York Knicks coach, Pat Riley visited a Seth Greenberg practice at Long Beach State
- Seth Greenberg felt "petrified" meeting Nick Saban for the first time
ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg talked on Tuesday's episode of the "Bald Men on Campus" podcast about his recent trip to an Alabama football practice.
The practice Greenberg said he attended preceded Alabama's football game at Texas A&M on Oct. 9.
Greenberg, a college basketball coach from 1990-2012, said it was his first time meeting Alabama football coach Nick Saban.
Only meeting current Miami Heat president Pat Riley in the 1990s could equate for Greenberg. Riley won five NBA titles as a head coach.
ESPN's Seth Greenberg felt nervous meeting Nick Saban
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas was on the podcast with Greenberg, and he asked Greenberg to talk about seeing an Alabama football practice.
"I was petrified," Greenberg said.
Greenberg was the Long Beach State men's basketball head coach from 1990-96, and he felt something similar to meeting Saban when Riley came to watch Byron Russell and Lucious Harris in a Long Beach State practice.
"And I can tell you that after he kind of came over and wanted to talk, I don't know what I mumbled," Greenberg said of meeting Riley. "It was a conversation that literally made no sense — Pat Riley is literally sitting here watching practice. ... It was nerve-racking."
Riley was head coach of the New York Knicks from 1991-95. Russell and Harris were both selected in the 1993 NBA Draft.
"Nick Saban to me is the standard," Greenberg said. "The interesting thing about meeting with coach Saban was — so he comes over and says hello. ... I say, 'Coach, it's an honor to meet you. It's incredible what you've been able to establish. You must really like your team.'
"I got five minutes of, 'We can't win the damn fourth quarter. It's one thing we need to do. We need to win the fourth quarter, the second half. We can play two good quarters. We can't play the whole game. I mean the game isn't two quarters. You can't finish a game, how are you going to win a game? You know what, this team, they just.'
"He sounded like one of my old-time rants," Greenberg continued.
Greenberg said there were 135 players on the Alabama football roster going through practice when he was there.
"There's 8,000 stations that they're working at," Greenberg said. "One of the defensive stations that they were doing to cover some action, play-action stuff, a guy did it incorrectly. ... He (Nick Saban) saw it, and it was like bam, 'You can't do that!' It was unbelievable. The whole setup was unbelievable."
Saban brought a rare aura that Greenberg noticed.
"The total control of the environment once he walked into that practice facility, you can feel it," Greenberg said. "Every single person in the building can feel that."
Greenberg said he also attended an Alabama men's basketball practice and film session.
To amplify what Greenberg experienced seeing a Saban practice, Bilas said, "It's a military-style operation there, and he's as good a leader as I've ever seen. I was there for a couple days a few years ago, and I was blown away."
Here's more Alabama football news:
- Greg Byrne:Will Alabama-Tennessee rivalry continue after SEC expansion? Crimson Tide AD Greg Byrne weighs in
- Nick Saban:Alabama football coach Nick Saban has bruise on left arm that serves as important reminder
- Alabama men's basketball:Alabama basketball ranked No. 14 in preseason AP poll
Greenberg has been a college basketball analyst at ESPN since 2012. Bilas joined ESPN in 1995.
Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik.