TUSCALOOSA — Two stunning Nick Saban revelations emerged from Alabama’s football Media Day on Sunday.
One, that he has ever been “burned out.”
Two, the process-oriented Alabama coach actually changed something in his (Sabanese alert) “process” relative to life after a national championship.
But hold off on the alarm, Alabama fans.
As it was with the Shirley Sherrod fiasco few weeks back, there’s much more to this story. It turns out much better than it sounds.
It centers on events from six years ago.
The then-LSU coach was between seasons, after the Tigers earned a share of the national title, and Saban was in peak demand.
That Nick Saban tried to be more accommodating. This year?
Not so much.
“I’ve been a little more guarded this year relative to things I allow myself to do,” he said.
“I remember after (2003) I was totally almost burned out in the offseason by all of the things that I did, whether it was speaking or whatever, it was due to demand and requests.
“But this year, though the demand and requests were there, I sort of said, ‘Look, I’m standing pat. This is how many times I speak. This is how many Crimson Caravans I do, and that’s not changing.’”
What to glean from that, as preseason No. 1 Alabama prepares for its attempt at a repeat?
Well, Saban did more public appearances after LSU’s 2003 BCS national title, and the Tigers went 9-3 in 2004.
Saban didn’t bulk up his glad-handing tour this year — for what it’s worth.
Beyond that, not much has changed in Saban’s offseason (here comes that word again) “process.”
He still has motivational speakers in. The message just changed slightly.
“I’m not sure what his last name was,” grinning wide receiver Darius Hanks said about Trevor Moawad, performance institute director for IMG Academy, who spoke to the team Saturday.
Hanks remembered the message, though.
“He talked to us about how we won a national championship and just the things that we have to go through for that next year,” Hanks said. “To not get lazy and want to repeat again.”
As for what Alabama’s players hear from Saban, well, they’ve learned a new word.
It wasn’t a word heard around Alabama’s camp during Saban’s first three seasons, as the Tide emerged from the reaching effects from years of sanctions and coaching turmoil.
Now, Saban talks about complacency “all the time,” Hanks said.
But while the message has changed, Saban apparently has not. When it comes to the audience that matters most, he speaks plenty.
Oh, and he hardly comes across as burned out.
“He’s so strong-minded,” sophomore cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said. “You don’t even feel like you won anything.”
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