ATLANTA — It’s the eve of the national title game and both Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Georgia head coach Kirby Smart met with the media one last time on Sunday morning before squaring off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Understandably one of the bigger storylines in the lead up to the game has been the whole dynamic of a former assistant taking on one of the game’s most successful coaches ever. While the meeting between Saban and Smart on Sunday was mostly a photo opportunity next to the CFP trophy, the pair did take a few final questions about the upcoming game and, naturally, their relationship.
As the press conference was winding down, one reporter brought up the topic of the Crimson Tide head coach yelling at his assistants on the sideline during games. The topic is often the delight of social media when it happens and is caught on camera but it sounds like somebody has a convenient blind spot in this area based on the answer he gave.
“I don’t yell at my assistants very much at all, I don’t think,” said Saban. “But there are occasions where you get upset with, whether it’s a circumstance in the game or a situation in the game, or maybe you did something that’s sort of out of the plan, and you get a little upset about it.”
Well, about that…
Nick Saban giving Brian Daboll the @Lane_Kiffin treatment. #RollTide pic.twitter.com/DILLEEFTGw
— Kyle Burger (@kyle_burger) January 2, 2018
Saban on his interaction with Kiffin during the game: "There were no arguments. Those are called ass-chewings."
— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) September 10, 2016
If there is any good news, it seems like both agreed that Smart got the brunt of Saban’s wrath far less than other prominent assistants when the two were in Tuscaloosa together.
“I don’t really ever recall getting really upset at Kirby,” added Saban. “I’m sure that he can remember a few times that I got on him unjustifiably, and maybe a couple times where maybe it was justified, I don’t know. But look, it’s always about trying to make somebody better and make them understand. I think we play a very emotional game sometimes, so I never want to get angry, and I never want to be mad, and I never want to show disappointment in a player or a coach.”
Something says FAU head coach Lane Kiffin is having a good chuckle over Saban’s answers on this subject.