The Devil and Nick Saban



            There’s a lot of commentary right now about the remarks by a couple of coaches who equated Alabama coach Nick Saban with Satan.


            Tim Davis, a former Ute assistant and now offensive line coach at Florida, told a booster club on Tuesday that “I’ve always wanted to work with Will (Muschamp, the Gators head coach). Will’s got a plan. Will coached under the devil himself for seven years. I only did three. He did seven. And his DNA is not any different than Nick.”

Tim Davis Deseret News photo

Tim Davis
Deseret News photo


            Several months ago, Vanderbilt coach James Franklin referred to Saban as “Nicky Satan.”


             “Twice. On two occasions,” Saban told The SportsXchange. “It’s just disappointing. If somebody has a problem with me, I’d appreciate it if they’d tell me. If I’m doing something to offend somebody, I’d certainly like to do whatever I have to do to fix it. It’s not our intention. It’s not what we try to do.


“We’re in a tough business. It’s very competitive. Sometimes you’ve got to demand that people do things that maybe they don’t want to do, but it’s not personal.”

For another reaction to the characterization, click here:

                Having limited experience covering both Saban and Davis, I’m convinced of a couple of things. First, Davis was just kidding. Whenever I was around him (at Utah in 2011), he was a good natured guy who didn’t worry a lot measuring every word he said. For a rival to call another coach the devil is a euphemism. It’s like calling the other team “the bad guys.”


            Second, Saban isn’t a particularly nice guy. During Sugar Bowl week in 2008, ‘Bama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain met with the media. He was funny and likable.


            As I walked out, I mentioned to an Alabama reporter that McElwain must be good material to cover.


            “I wouldn’t know,” he said.



            The reporter went on to say Saban didn’t allow assistant coaches to talk to the media during the regular season.  If true, that says something about why relaxed, open coaches like Davis might jokingly refer to Saban as Beelzebub himself.


            That’s also why I doubt Saban is really going to expend a lot of energy smoothing over hurt feelings.The guy didn’t get where he is by being everyone’s buddy.


            Considering Alabama’s domination, and Saban’s personality, I’d say being called the devil, especially in jest, isn’t the worst thing that could happen.


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