Remember last winter when Jimmy Sexton was telling the Associated Press that the “special pressure” Nick Saban felt at Alabama was the only thing that could ever push him out of Tuscaloosa?
Yeah, this is what he was talking about.
When asked Monday about his frustration level about players’ mistakes – and make no mistake, there were plenty of them Saturday, and more last week in the loss to Ole Miss – Saban changed the subject to talk about how he really gets frustrated when expectations get so high that a conference win on the road is treated like a loss, which is about the reception Alabama’s 14-13 defeat of Arkansas has received.
“Everybody’s got such a high expectation of what our team should be,” Saban said “I was just happy to see our players be happy about playing the game and winning. It really, sort of, if you want to know the truth about it, pisses me off when I talk to people that have this expectation like they are disappointed that we only won the game 14-13 and in the way we played.
“Really, that’s frustrating. You want to talk about something that’s frustrating, that’s frustrating, to me, for our players, who play with a lot of heart in the game.”
The question Saban originally answered was regarding his own frustration following a quarterback sneak where Blake Sims decided at one point to jump straight in the air. Needless to say, he got stuffed.
On one hand, he’s right. College football is a game, played by unemployed 18-to-22 year olds. It’s supposed to be fun, and anyone who treats it as more than that has his or her own set of problems.
But on the other hand, it’s Alabama. The pressure cooker there is like a microwave inside a Big Green Egg inside an industrial strength oven.
In his eighth season in Tuscaloosa and searching for his seventh straight double-digit victory season, he should know better than to expect anything different. Plus, it’s hard to blame the fans for feeling disappointment when Saban himself has displayed some of the most negative sideline demeanor in the sport.
In the end, it’s hard to feel sorry for Saban – right as he is. That’s part of coaching in any sport, especially college football. This isn’t a sport known for its embrace of the big picture, especially in that area of the country. Finally, Saban helped awaken this monster, and then he signed up for eight more years with it over the winter.