Nick Saban hates giving up real estate on a football field. Hate its. Scowls at it. Labors over it.
Does everything in his role as Alabama head coach and greatest college coach of all time to fight against it.
So through two games, Saban is less than pleased that his Tide squad is giving up all kinds of real estate via penalties. They've been flagged 17 times for 176 yards in wins against Miami and Mercer, the latter resulting in nine penalties for 95 yards.
Two of those were pass interference calls against Saban's defense, and the other was an unsportsmanlike-conduct of the 15-yard variety.
It left Saban fuming in his postgame press conference. And it left him imparting another kernel of wisdom for society writ large.
“You know these are all choices and decisions players make,” Saban said, his engine just getting started. “They make a decision to throw their helmet. They make a decision to grab and throw another guy on the ground. Whether it's controlling your emotions, because when you're emotional you make bad decisions. So you gotta play with intensity but not out of control. We've got to make better choices and decisions.
“Your question would be like somebody asking me, 'How are you going to get this guy to quit swinging at balls over his head in baseball?' It's a bad decision. It's a bad choice. You can tell em, you can show em, you can tell em, you can show em. Eventually you play somebody else in their place because they're not dependable. It's accountability. I have a job to do.”
Saban then recounted the story of working for his father, Nick Sr., in his youth in the West Virginia hills.
“I told the story (Saturday), maybe we need more of this. When I was growing up, I worked for my dad,” Saban said. “So every day at dinner, he would (smacks the table with his hand) to that to the table, and there was a reckoning. A reckoning for everything that you were supposed to do that day. So if you were supposed to cut the grass, did you sweep the walk? Did you trim? Did you put the mower away? Did you clean the mower? And if you didn't do any of those things right, you're going to do it again.
“We might need a little of that, somewhere along the line.”