Nick Saban goes on mini rant ahead of Alabama football vs. ULM

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Nick Saban didn't enter into a full-on rant, but he certainly got on edge at one point in his press conference Wednesday.

Which isn't terribly surprising. Alabama football has a game coming up with a non-Power 5 opponent. The Crimson Tide (2-0) will face Louisiana Monroe (1-1) on Saturday (3:30 p.m., SEC Network).

Saban saw his opportunity to get a message across to the team when he was asked how hard it can be to gauge offensive growth when quality of opponent can vary.

Then Saban got rolling for about 90 seconds.

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"That's your opinion on quality of opponent," Saban said. "It's not mine. I respect all the people that we play and I respect winning and what you have to do to win."

Then the message became much more specific to the Crimson Tide players who will be on the field against the Warhawks.

"Every player should not be focused on who they are playing against relative to the motivation, but every player should want to be the best player they can be," Saban said. "Why would it matter, whether we're playing Texas or playing somebody else? That's how you get good, that's how you develop the right habits. That's how you're consistent."

Then Saban went back to his days coaching in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns as defensive coordinator and Miami Dolphins as head coach. He mentioned how when he evaluated players, he didn't pay attention to whom they were playing against.

"That means when we play a team that is not as good as somebody else, you don't play as good?" Saban said. "You let the opponent determine how you play? You let the score determine how you play? You determine where you're playing, that determines how you play? When you get evaluated, what does somebody think? 'Oh this guy is pretty good at home. I don't think we'll draft him.'"

Saban then told a cautionary tale, referencing some Week 2 matchups.

"What does what you're favored in a game mean when you're favored by 20 points and you lose?" Saban said. "Like two teams did this week? What does it mean? It means the people favoring you don't know what you're talking about, or the players playing got affected by that. Neither one of them are good."

The matchups to which he was referring were likely Texas A&M losing to Appalachian State and Notre Dame losing to Marshall.