Blah Blah Blah Nick Satan

Tell the truth.  The first time or so after you heard the name “Nick Saban” the phrase “Nick Satan” also ran through your mind.

I know it did for me.

So I’m sure Nick Saban has heard the phrase a couple of million times in his lifetime.  And it’s probably one of those things you never like and you never get used to.  One of those things you wish people would just quietly pass by.

For Saban, though, the phrase doesn’t just emanate from his surname.  In case you haven’t heard, he’s got sort of a reputation as being a tough boss.

So this week, Florida offensive line coach Tim Davis tried to be a funny-man at a gathering of Florida boosters:

“I’ve always wanted to work with Will,” Davis said. “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.”

Real original, coach Davis.

Most expected coach Saban to bypass the comments and continue The Process undisturbed.  But he addressed the issue with reporters at a Crimson Caravan event:

“I try to do right by the people that work for me,” he said. “It’s a tough, demanding job. And at the same time, if anybody had an issue or problem with me, I would want them to just tell me.”

“Twice. On two occasions,” Saban said. “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.”

“I know it’s not representative of Will Muschamp and the University of Florida and the way they do things,” he said. “I know that, because I’m close enough to Will to know that.”

I’m not sure why people thought Saban would have no response.  I mean, at some point he’s going to be in front of reporters and be asked about the situation.  But, as it almost always the case, Saban handled the issue brilliantly.

In addition to generating a bit of sympathy for himself and showing a bit of his personal side, Saban also issued a few zingers:

  • “I try to do right by the people that work for me,” he said. “It’s a tough, demanding job…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.” – In other words, it’s just bidness, Sonny.  In his own way, Saban notes perhaps Davis wasn’t tough enough to work for him.  He almost makes it sound like there were parts of Davis’ job he was asked to do, but either couldn’t or wouldn’t.
  • “And at the same time, if anybody had an issue or problem with me, I would want them to just tell me…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.” – In a couple of short sentences, Saban sends the message that Davis didn’t handle things the right way.  If Davis had a problem with Saban, he should have been man enough to talk about the problem face-to-face.
  • “I know it’s not representative of Will Muschamp and the University of Florida and the way they do things,” he said. “I know that, because I’m close enough to Will to know that.” – Boom, you’ve just been scolded by your daddy.  In these parting words, he lumps the issue back over onto the Florida coach to handle.

Have you ever wondered why coach Saban limits the time his assistant coaches spend with the media?  Consider this issue to be one of the top reasons.

Do I think Saban was seriously offended by Davis’ comments.  I doubt it.

Do I think he meant to deliver the messages I’ve outlined above?  I doubt he consciously thought about it.  But that doesn’t mean the message wasn’t delivered.

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