Nick Saban mentions Patriots’ offense during press conference rant

"So, where does that assumption come from? Or do you do what everybody else in the media does?"

No one has ever accused Alabama football coach Nick Saban — formerly an assistant coach on Bill Belichick’s staff in Cleveland — of being afraid to express his opinion on a subject. During a recent spring practice press conference, Saban launched into a rant that somehow roped both the Patriots’ offense and his unhappiness with the NCAA into one answer.

The Crimson Tide, who lost the 2017 national championship game, 35-31, to Clemson on a last-second touchdown, are in the process of regrouping for what is expected to be another strong showing in the fall. One new addition to the program is former Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll, who was installed as Alabama’s new offensive coordinator. Saban’s Patriots tangent was sparked by a question from a reporter that mentioned Daboll and his expected influence on the offense.

Given how the National Championship game transpired with the time of possession deficit, how much was returning to that kind of ball-control mentality of emphasis even in hiring Brian as the offensive coordinator?

Saban didn’t even let the reporter finish the last words of the question before launching into what — at first — appeared to be a forgettable response:

We didn’t block them, we didn’t execute very well. We didn’t throw the ball accurately when we had open people and a couple times we dropped it, so I think it was more a lack of execution than it was something schematically that we were doing.

Yet after speaking for nearly a minute, Saban suddenly took a harsher tone, mentioning the Patriots’ offensive strategy as a reason why “ball control” was a false assumption about Daboll’s hire:

I don’t know where you came up with where we go to ball control. That’s not what we do. I mean New England Patriots threw the ball over 60-something percent of the time, which is more than we threw it. So, where does that assumption come from? Or do you do what everybody else in the media does — just create some [expletive] — and throw it on the wall and see what sticks, which is what I see happening everywhere. And the people who scream the loudest, they kind of get the attention.

Afterward, Saban continued to rant, though the subject quickly pivoted to a recent NCAA rule change that the Alabama coach wasn’t happy with. He ended his response by asking the reporter if he had come up with the theory of Alabama moving back to a ball control offense “in a dream.”