Nick Saban looks forward to winning football games and little else, but one thing he seems to relish is sticking it to the media whether they deserve or not. Or if his criticisms make any sense.
“The No. 1 thing you’d like to talk about is the quarterback controversy you love to create and continue to create, you love to talk about. It’s still to be determined,” Saban said. “You can ask all the questions you want. I’m going to say, ‘We’ll see.'”
For those with short memories, this would be the position that will either go to Jalen Hurts, who has led the Tide to two national championship games, and Tua Tagovailoa, who came in relief to win the whole enchilada against Georgia.
Tagovailoa has been battling a hand injury and missed out on significant reps to this point. Hurts is a safer option with a lower ceiling, but questions abound about his presence on the roster come fall.
To be clear, the controversy was created when Saban, in his infinite wisdom, inserted the then-freshman in the title game and rode him to victory. It was not created by the media. Yes, they noticed — as anyone paying attention would — that a decision eventually needs to be made. Both seem more than competent. Only one can play.
It’s a good problem to have.
The idea that the media wouldn’t be interested in who is going to play the most important position for the most important college football team in the nation is absurd. To not ask about it would be a dereliction of duty.
Additionally, getting an answer from Saban is the most surefire way to quell any controversy. Absent any solid information, speculation will continue to grow. One understands why the famously opaque coach wouldn’t want to anoint either right now — and it probably wouldn’t be prudent.
But what do his comments today accomplish? How does attempting to make the media the enemy reduce the temperature? How is Alabama in a better situation today than it was yesterday? The question is still there.
It’s unclear how today’s one-sided feud takes any pressure off his players.
Perhaps there’s a method to the madness. And second-guessing Saban, the best to ever do it, is an admittedly fraught proposition. But acting like the controversy doesn’t exist won’t make it go away. He may have bought himself a few days but sooner or later, he’ll have to deal with it.