Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

Doubt is a powerful thing.

Pity the poor Alabama defense.

“My friends, they’ll be talking stuff, like, ‘Y’all don’t look like the other teams used to look in ’09 and ’11,'” Ragland told ESPN.com on Thursday. “And Coach tells us people from the outside don’t believe we’re the same Alabama. We don’t play with the same intensity and tenacity.

“They’re not scared to play us any more.

It’s the type of feedback that stings, especially for a first-team All-SEC linebacker such as Ragland.

If Corch and Malzahn have really managed the feat of getting inside the heads of Saban and Smart, dare we hope that Georgia might be able to move the ball a little come October 3?  Or will they get their mojo back by then?

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Lawyer be lawyerin’.

Well, according to Kim Stephens, Jonathan Taylor’s defense attorney, Nick Saban conducted an “extraordinary thorough” vetting process before admitting his client to Alabama.

How extraordinary?  Extraordinary enough that if Stephens’ story is accurate, Ken Mauldin, who is the ACC DA, and Mark Richt stretched the truth about being contacted by Saban or his representatives about Taylor.

There’s no point in jumping to conclusions now – this situation has had more than its share of twists and turns, for sure – but even if Alabama’s made a final decision against Taylor’s continued enrollment there, it’s surprising that Saban didn’t respond publicly to challenge the claims of no contact by Mauldin and Richt if Alabama did in fact reach out to them.  Or, if not call the two out in public, speak privately with Richt to point out that Alabama did try to speak with him in order to get Richt to correct the public record.  But maybe Saban doesn’t have time for that shit.

Or maybe Stephens is just relaying what he thinks/hopes happened as opposed to what he knows.  Beats me.  Though a defense lawyer’s gotta do what a defense lawyer’s gotta do.

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UPDATE:  There’s a interesting note from this piece about Saban’s kinda, sorta mea culpa.

Saban was aware of Nawab recanting her accusations when he stepped to the lectern for his news conference Monday, the coach told ESPN.com.

So at least Saban and the UAPD are talking with each other again.  I was worried about that.

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Can you move on when you never really started right in the first place?

The sound of a man washing his hands of a matter:

Alabama head coach Nick Saban declined to discuss specifics when asked Monday about the vetting process for Taylor.

“I’m not really going to answer all those questions,” Saban said. “I spoke to everybody that had an opportunity to give us some idea of what kind of young man that Jonathan Taylor was. And is. And you know, I still think he’s a good person, I think he has a problem and a circumstance that is not acceptable. And that is his problem. And he has been certainly dealt with relative to this problem.”

The thing is, Saban didn’t talk with Mark Richt about Taylor.  He didn’t talk with the DA’s office prosecuting Taylor’s case. He didn’t talk to the UGA Police Department, either.  But you know who did?

The University of Alabama Police Department obtained and reviewed photographs that detailed Jonathan Taylor’s 2014 alleged aggravated assault in Athens, Ga., before Taylor enrolled at UA in January…

…According to emails obtained via a public records request, in the weeks leading up to Taylor’s arrival at UA, Lt. Eric Dellinger, a UGA Police Department spokesman, sent an internal email on Dec. 18 regarding a phone call he received from UAPD Assistant Police Chief Lee Harris.

Dellinger wrote that Harris “indicated that Mr. Taylor was possibly about to be a student with them and wanted to speak with someone who was familiar with his history here at UGA.”

Later that day, Lt. Jeff Hammock of UGAPD’s Criminal Investigations Division emailed Harris photographs from the July 22 domestic violence incident involving Taylor. The incident report from July, which was emailed to UAPD soon after the photographs, cited the victim having “visible scratches and red marks to her neck and bruises on her arm and leg.” The report stated that photographs were taken of the victim’s injuries once police arrived on scene…

So Saban didn’t even bother to check to see that the local cops were doing a more thorough job of due diligence than the football program conducted.  You know, for a guy who is famously known for being as detail-oriented as they come, that sure is an interesting oversight.

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Nick Saban is not – repeat, NOT – having a very good week.

Tyren Jones gets the unceremonious boot from Tuscaloosa, which, if memory serves, just about wipes out that much ballyhooed 2013 running back class Saban signed.

Yeah, I know.  Shit happens.  Kids will be kids.  I’m not pointing any fingers at Saban for running an out of control program.

But I can’t help but wonder why nobody of national prominence *** cough *** Herbstreit *** cough *** is either.

Just sayin’.

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Awkward moments in corporate sponsorship

I bet Coke is thrilled with its product placement at yesterday’s Nick Saban press conference.

VASHA HUNT — AP

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“I’m not sorry for giving him an opportunity. I’m sorry for how things worked out.”

Holly Anderson tries to figure out how Alabama got itself into the pickle it did with Jonathan Taylor in this excellent piece, or, as Spencer Hall succinctly phrases it,  “why the hell did Alabama even bother with Jonathan Taylor in the first place?”.

Spencer goes on to say “Because he’s good at football isn’t a good enough answer”, and that may be a start, but my feeling about why it did so is that the simpler truth is, well, because it could.  When you operate in an environment where nobody questions your decision making, it’s not surprising that at some point you become imbued with a sense of personal infallibility. Sure, Nick Saban appreciated the talents of Jonathan Taylor and how those talents could benefit the Alabama program, but more than that, Saban believed he had the Taylor situation under control from the start, simply because he’s Nick Saban.

Saban is not a bad person.  He’s not corrupt.  He is shrewd and directs a program that has almost unlimited resources with which to operate at a pinnacle virtually unmatched in college football.  Alabama recruits like nobody’s business.  That’s both its glory and the reason bringing Taylor into the mix is such a puzzle to some.

Call Alabama a victim of its own institutional hubris, if you like.  It’s as good an explanation as any.

And now that Taylor has taken his third strike, where do things go for Saban and Alabama?  Holly pretty much diagrams the first play when she writes,

The Taylor episode will subside, at worst, into what will euphemistically be called a “distraction” for the football program. It won’t take long. That particular elision when we discuss these things, that inertia, takes hold so quickly, so insidiously. Difficulties, you know. By the time we all reconvene in July for SEC Media Days, Saban will be deploying that “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed, but also mad” face full-time. He’ll rattle off whatever combination of word-pap he has calculated will get him out of that topic the quickest, in a tone of stern patience that says we should know better than to ask. And truth be told, maybe we should. We already know how much good it’ll do anyone.

And that, unsurprisingly, is where Saban quickly went at Monday’s press conference.

6:40: Saban on Jonathan Taylor: “I think it’s very unfortunate that the guy came here with some very specific guidelines and zero tolerance and obviously didn’t live up to that. While we’ve created many opportunities for players through the years, sometimes those things have worked out extremely well, we’re sad to say in this case it didn’t. We all take responsibility for that.”

“We all take responsibility”?  As in the school as well as the player?  Well, maybe.

Or maybe not.

Owning up to a share of the responsibility, it seems to me, would involve shedding some light on why Saban thought – really thought, not offering up some second chance bullshit about a football player who still had outstanding legal issues to resolve in Athens when Saban made the call – the decision to give Taylor an Alabama scholarship was a defensible one. Or as Hall puts it,

And yes, I’m pretty sure Nick Saban shouldn’t have touched him in the first place, but that’s not the repellent part of the conversation here. That the first question asked is: What is or isn’t in the interests of a college football program? That’s the move, to run to the institution and fret about its decisions and the reputation of the extremely wealthy men running this institution, and not about the people involved. That’s the nauseating thing after the act to me. It just is, and even after trying I can’t really even begin to articulate all the reasons why.* It just feels like failure in every goddamn direction, including this one.

Yeah.  But that’s not the kind of thing a person immersed in a sense of infallibility is going to be forthcoming about on his own.  I’m not sure Saban is even ready to be honest with himself about why he did it.  And so at the presser, he ended the discussion in the only way he knew how.

Though I’m not sure the passive-aggressive handling of the media and the resort to euphemistic gobbledygook is going to be the end of this story, no matter how much Saban wills it to be so.  Because there is still one wild card out there – the victim.  And while Bill Battle nauseatingly equated her situation with that of her alleged attacker’s by hoping both could deal with the situation “constructively”, there are several ways for her to take his suggestion.

The obvious one being under advice of counsel.

The 6-foot-4, 335-pound Taylor is accused of choking his victim in the Athens case. According to Tuscaloosa police, Taylor’s 24-year-old female victim had “minor injuries to her neck from the assault” this past Saturday.

That has put Alabama, which went to great lengths to defend Taylor’s admission, at considerable legal risk. Taylor was dismissed by the Crimson Tide on Sunday, and it’s likely the university will take similar steps this week.

In the end, will it come to a threat of litigation?  There are plenty of reasons in this day and age to think it never will – everything from local hostility (think how the FSU community reacted to the Winston matter) to taking care of business behind the scenes – but if she elects to pursue the school to hold it accountable for its poor judgment, and people like Saban and Battle face a future where both are forced to answer questions under oath in a deposition setting, trotting out the old standby “let’s move on” won’t cut it.

Which, ultimately, is why it’ll never come to pass.  Infallibility sometimes has to be enabled.  And if there’s one resource Alabama has plenty of, it’s enablers.  Meanwhile, I guess we’ll wait for Geno Smith’s inevitable return to good graces and the starting lineup.

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Is there a Fourth Chance U out there?

If ever there’s a moment when Mark Richt says to himself, “there but for the grace of God go I”, it’s probably about now.

Alabama defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor was arrested Saturday night and charged with domestic violence third degree assault and domestic violence third degree criminal mischief, according to the Tuscaloosa Police Department.

This time, it’s somebody else who’s lost control.  (I eagerly await Kirk Herbstreit’s condemnation.)

“We recruited this young man out of high school,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said in February. “We felt that what we knew about him, what his high school coaches said about him, from what people at the school he was at said about him and where he came from in junior college that he was the kind of guy that deserved a second chance. “But with that chance we also have stipulations and things that he needs to do from a personal-development standpoint so that he won’t make any kind of mistake like this again. That’s an on-going process with him. That’s something that we continue to monitor, and it’s something he’s done a very good job with.”

So much for the Process. You can assume Taylor’s gone, because Saban doesn’t have time for that shit. But tomorrow’s presser ought to be epic.

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UPDATE:  PAWWWLLL!!!

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UPDATE #2:  The deed is done.

Zero-tolerance for some who was already in trouble with the law? Hokay.

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UPDATE #3: Mark Schlabach rips Saban and ‘Bama a new one. And here’s a great quote:

Make no mistake: Alabama’s decision wasn’t about rehabilitation and second chances. It was about winning, and now the Crimson Tide look like big losers — from the top down. It’s not like Alabama is Louisville, where Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino seems to take any SEC reject as he tries to build his program. The Crimson Tide have the pick of the litter when it comes to recruiting. For whatever reason, they chose a troubled prospect with fleas.

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UPDATE #4:  The AD’s statement.

First Rule of Holes, dude.

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