Players say Saban has his fun side
TUSCALOOSA — A recent poll of sports fans published in Forbes Magazine named Alabama coach Nick Saban as the ninth most disliked person in sports.
But ask Tide linebacker Rolando McClain, and he'll tell you about the other side of the fiery leader who once yelled at an NFL player long enough to make him cry while coaching the Miami Dolphins.
"A lot of people don't know coach Saban" McClain said. "They just see some up-tight guy and people think he's angry. But he just wants to bring the best out of you. He likes hard work and he works extremely hard. ... We like how he is towards us. We know he's just trying to push us to be the best we can be."
Nose guard Terrence Cody said he's seen the softer side of Saban when he gets away from the world of football.
"He's relaxed when he's out at his house, but he's still working," Cody said.
A search for online Saban videos on YouTube turns up footage that shows the difference between Saban on the field and off. Among the 730 hits that come up under a "Nick Saban" search are several passionate answers to news conference questions, as well as a news clip from the Dolphins practice in which rookie Manuel Wright left the field in tears following a lecture from Saban.
On the flip side, there is a crude cell phone video posted in 2007 that shows the coach in a non-football setting performing the popular "Cupid Shuffle" dance. Thanks to the viral nature of Web videos, Saban's fun side has been viewed more than 126,000 times since being posted Dec. 26, 2007.
• WEDNESDAY SPELLS RELIEF: Wednesday was a one-practice day for the Tide, sandwiched between two-a-days on Tuesday and today.
By the time the team gets Sunday off, it will have practiced eight times since Monday in the busiest week of the August schedule. It will get one more two-day practice in on Aug. 17, before starting classes on Aug. 19.
Bad weather forced Tuesday's second workout to be moved into the university's renovated indoor practice facility for the first time this preseason.
• SABAN GOING ON THE AIR: The Crimson Tide Radio Network's "Hey Coach" show will debut tonight. Originating from Buffalo Wild Wings in Tuscaloosa, the show hosted by Tom Roberts will air from 6:30-8 p.m. on WHMA 1390 AM in Anniston and will feature taped interviews with Saban and several football players.
The Nick Saban Show will debut Sept. 3, two days before the season opens in Atlanta against Virginia Tech.