SEC Media Days never disappoint.
There were plenty of great quotes to go around this year in Hoover, Alabama and most of it was covered quite nicely by one of my favorite sites, Saturday Down South (seriously check them out).
One quote from the week that caught my attention was from Alabama head football coach, Nick Saban. Saban commented on why he had such a difficult time preparing his players for their national semifinal game against eventual national champion Ohio State.
“I just felt like in our experience last year, our chemistry from the SEC championship game to the playoff game was affected by something,” Saban said. “We had six guys in this situation this past year and 11 the year before. We’re trying to get ready for a game and all of a sudden a guy finds out he’s a first-round pick or a guy who thought he was a first-round pick finds out he isn’t and we’re trying to play a playoff game.
“I think it would be better not to submit that information to a player until he was finished competing in college. We’ve moved the draft (later in the year). We’ve not moved the date that a player has to declare (later).”
I’ll start by saying that Saban presents a sound argument and I follow the logic. Bottom line is if you’re talking continuity in dates and evaluations then yes that part of the process should be moved to a later date to allow for better concentration on the field for games that come after that date. I can see that, and respect that. A lot of us would have a hard time focusing on much of anything if an evaluation yielded multi-million dollar ramifications one way or the other. That isn’t the reason they lost the game (poor run defense is) but I understand the gripe.
The problem isn’t the argument, it’s the person making it.
Saban’s history from Michigan State to Alabama is one of doing exactly what he’s trying to prevent: getting distracted by better opportunities. It’s hard to look at the argument for what it is (logical) when it comes from a person notorious for, quite frankly, always having one eye on the next opportunity. Plaxico Burress, who played for Saban at Michigan State, even chimed in to remind Saban of how hypocritical he sounds.
However let me reiterate: Saban has a point.
Look, if we’re going to continue to have this system that feeds players from colleges to the NFL, NBA, etc., there also needs to be a system that doesn’t interfere with what head coaches and programs are trying to accomplish if that is what’s happening. That’s an easy fix if it is a problem; and, as I said earlier, I can see it being a real problem. I don’t see the marriage between the NCAA and professional sports ending anytime soon so this change, among the many others needed, is one that might need reviewing.
So the argument itself was a logical one. It’s just too bad it will get muddled because of where it came from.