Each spring the Great Leader travels the earth, offering before the faithful his precepts for our beloved University of Alabama Crimson Tide football squad, on team chemistry, future scheduling, and sundry minutiae. We are grateful for his benign tolerance of our presence. Below are some of his remarks:
On the Alabama fanbase: “If it wasn’t for the positive energy and attitude that we have with our supporters since we’ve been at Alabama I don’t think we would have had the success that we’ve had.”
On the difficulty of repeating as conference and national champions: “I think what’s harder is to focus on the process of the things that you need to do to be successful. Where does the hunger come? Where does the motivation come from? And that has to come from within the players to be as good as you can be.”
On the NCAA’s new “Tiger Prowl” rule limiting the number of coaches on a recruiting visit: “Obviously, if you send five or six coaches to a place, you’re not trying to evaluate. You’re trying to emotionally impress somebody with what you’re doing. . . . The workload of the way we try to cover things, you get more people more places by not doing it.”
On the 40th anniversary of the Kent State (Saban’s alma mater) massacre: “It was a different time. . . . It would be hard for young people to understand that time, the changes that were going on, the demonstrations, the way people were speaking out against things. . . . I do think this incident made people very aware of the Vietnam War and maybe it was a step in the direction of getting out of the Vietnam War. But it’s a shame that we had a tragedy like that. . . . I had a great experience at Kent State. Obviously, what happened on May 4th of my freshman year was not one of those things. It was a real tragedy, probably one of the biggest tragedies I’ve experienced in my life.”
On filling in the holes created by defensive departures: “Jerrell Harris is starting at outside backer and we’re also working him some as a nickel backer. . . . Kendall Kelly went back and forth from receiver to defensive back and made a lot of progress this spring. . . . Dre Kirkpatrick had an outstanding spring and right now is a starting corner. We’re pleased with all three of those guys.
On this weekend’s Lost series finale: “Complete horseshit! Initially I thought, ‘OK, here’s something interesting. Something like No Exit but on network TV. I’ll give it a shot.’ But come on. Magic caves? Alternate universes? I wish they’d just told me it was going to end up as Star Trek in the tropics six years ago.”
On receiver Julio Jones’s “down” year: “I think Julio had a great year. He had a couple of games where he wasn’t healthy, but other than that, he was fine. I think he had a great year. . . . Julio Jones has done a lot to change the culture of what a wide receiver is at Alabama in terms of toughness.”
On the departure of QB Star Jackson: “Star has done a fantastic job in our program. . . .We hate to see anybody leave our program. But quarterback is sort of a unique position, and we have a lot of competition there.”
On Michael Jackson: “Aight. I know where this is going. Did he touch those kids? I don’t know. I sure hope not, and you know, I don’t think so. I know part of that is me just not wanting to believe he could, and honestly, who here can really imagine Michael doing anything sexual? Remember that video for “The Way You Make Me Feel”? Jesus. Obviously, his identity, sexually, I mean, and maybe just in general, was a puzzle to him. Mainly, I just listen to his early stuff and wonder how it all went so wrong.”
On possible upcoming neutral site games: “We’ve talked about maybe playing in Dallas, maybe playing in Atlanta. We’ve talked about the possibility about playing ten or twelve different teams.”
On Arizona’s anti-immigration law: “Superman was an illegal immigrant, you know that? Born on Krypton, and don’t give me any of that ‘birthing matrix’ crap. He was born. On. Krypton. And, sure, these immigrants don’t have special powers, but they’re coming here to do good just the same. The American way, aight? If you have so many people trying to get into our country that the system can’t handle it, fix the system. Don’t criminalize the people. That’s like setting a 15mph speed limit on the interstate and then acting shocked that everyone’s speeding.”
On the inordinate number of SEC opponents with bye weeks prior to playing Alabama: “I don’t see any changes right now that are going to affect it . . . it is what it is. Nobody knows for sure if a bye week helps your team or not. Sometimes when you’re playing well, you’d rather not have a bye week. Sometimes when your team’s a little tired and beat up, a bye week’s advantageous.
On conference expansion rumors: “The Big Ten is sort of the instigator in this. I think a lot of people or chasing what we have in the SEC with two divisions and a championship game. People that don’t have that don’t have quite the TV deal that we have. . . . But I don’t know that any of this will affect us.”
On nurture vs. nature: “The more we learn about the physiology of the brain, the less and less probable the old tabula rasa theories sound, at least in their extremes. Obviously, that’s not to say we’re products of genetic determinism. Rather than seeing our shared heredity as oppressive, I see in it boundless optimism. We are born communed with a gift of seeing our selves in others, which can be found in the teachings of nearly all the world’s religions, arts, or literature. At least, that’s what I try to impart to our players.”
On why Alabama doesn’t run the wishbone: “Who’s going to block? We have two tailbacks who saw a good number of snaps last year, and we ran the ball pretty good. No. No [motions to questioner]. Stand back up. I’m not done with you yet. One of those guys won the Heisman, if I recall. Set the school record too. Is that the guy you want drive-blocking into a rush end? No? Aight. Now you can sit down.”