Well, that went off without any fireworks or controversial moments, which is about all you could ask for. Saban was his usual self, speaking early and often on discipline and player maturity. Alabama has had three players arrested this off-season (Dillon Lee, Kenyan Drake and Jarran Reed) so unsurprisingly he took this moment to drive home a message.
Few years ago, Saban used this pulpit to rail on unscrupulous agents. Starting a tangent now about maturity levels & mentoring young people.- Mike Herndon
"This process that we’re talking about, which involves a little bit of discipline … it takes a while to develop this process"
"It's not really about judging, it's not really about complaining, it's not really about questioning, it's really about buying in"
"When you impact somebody for your benefit, that's manipulation, and I think people can see through that"
Drake, Reed "suspended from activity" but not kicked off team and can return "when they prove themselves."
And true to form, Saban didn't waste time mentioning the holes Alabama must fill on defense and the new identity this team will have to create for themselves. "Everyone must check their ego at the door".
He then spoke briefly about the quarterback competition that looms over the offense. Basically, both Sims and Coker will compete for the starting job, though he didn't mention Coker by name. Just don't tell Coach that Coker has the job locked up.
Saban on Coker having the job in hand: "That’s not the perception by me, my staff or my players."
3 critical factors at QB: Decision-making/judgment, accuracy with the ball (processing information) and leadership
He also mentioned that Kiffin is doing a good job, so far, and relates well with the players.
By far the most controversial (if you even want to call it that) statement he made was in response to a question regarding the 8-game SEC schedule and how he was the only coach in favor of increasing the number of conference games. Shots fired? Eh, maybe a little.
Saban did give a bit of clarification on the $100 million contract he was offered by Texas.
"Nobody offered me anything."
If I didn't have any conversations with them, there must not have been very much interest.
So, there's that.
There were some questions regarding the new college football playoff;
I'm hopeful that when we choose the teams that are in the playoff ... we get the right four teams in"
So are we coach, so are we.
I was surprised that his comment about the BCS getting "it right" most of the time didn't receive more back-lash.
All in all the media were overly kind to Saban and the event went off without a bang. Thank god someone was there to ask the important, hard hitting questions like "How's being a grandfather going?" and "Do you share your little Debbies". I did like his Little Debbie answer, BTW.
"Everybody gets into my Little Debbies. Everybody gets on me for eating them but nobody passes them up"
He did end the press conference with a bit of a zinger towards the media who've missed on 18 of the last 22 picks on who will win the SEC.
"Just so you know, we're evaluating you"
Alabama is the preseason media pick to win the SEC for the 6th time. Media was wrong in each of the previous 5 ('93, 2000, '10, '11 and '13)— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) July 17, 2014
Hopefully this is the year they actually get the pick right.