Archived Story

It’s pronounced Sa-ban, not Sa-tan

Published 11:20am Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ho-hum. Another week, another SEC coach likens Nick Saban to Satan.
“I’ve always wanted to work with Will (Muschamp). 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.”
The quotes  above are the words of Florida assistant coach Tim Davis when speaking to a UF  booster club last week.
This statement was preceded by Vandy coach’s James Franklin referring to the ‘Bama coach as “Nicky Satan” to a booster club of his own a few weeks ago.
My first thought about either of these remarks was, “Wow … Vandy has a booster club?!?”
I bet they never ran out of food at those events considering the Commodores have traditionally been the SEC’s golden chew toy.
A six pack of Mountain Dew and a pack of Ritz crackers would be enough to feed that group.
My second thought was that perhaps Muschamp’s DNA isn’t as Saban-like as coach Davis thinks.
After all, can you imagine Nick Saban allowing an assistant coach to spout off at the mouth against a coach who has recently beaten the fire out of his own team?
I also find the irony in Davis’ reference in that he calls Saban the king of the underworld, yet he now works under a coach who is most known internet-wide for his catch phrase, “BOOM! Mother- (expletive)!”
Yeah, that Muschamp is a real angel. A true sweetheart.
What makes Saban a demon anyway? Winning? Success? His cold shoulder attitude towards the media?
So far those are pretty redeeming qualities, actually.
Perhaps it’s his work with the Nick’s Kids Fund, a charitable organization he founded back in his Michigan State days.
What kind of hell-spawn would create a foundation to help children and teachers? Oh, the humanity!
Maybe it’s the fact that Saban makes it his point in life to not allow his school to enable or support a cheesy,  feel-good  football team.
Whereas some coaches go out of their way to hug players when they fair catch an innocuous  punt, Saban is much more likely to publicly (and violently) spank a back-up quarterback during a blowout than he is to pat a someone on the back for scoring the game winning touchdown.
I have no qualms in admitting that if you want to be told how awesome you are every other play, a Nick Saban led squad isn’t for you.
In Saban’s eyes, that’s what your grandmother is for.
Saban demands excellence from his players, his staff, his athletic department, the fans and the media.
And it is not as if he expects all of this from everyone around him while  sipping a cold one from his houndstooth lounge chair.
The man literally puts in 26 hour days!
To paraphrase Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, Saban wants “excellence from his team, his assistants and his school. How could he expect any less from the media?”
In the end, all of these devilish comparisons are a huge (albeit backhanded) compliment.
Think about it: Did any opposing coaches ever call Mike Shula Satan?
And  while the UF defensive assistant is name-calling, Saban is out recruiting.
In what is sure to not be a coincidence, Florida lost perhaps their top defensive commitment last week and just guess where he is leaning?
If you come after the devil, you better go for the jugular, coach Davis. Otherwise, he may come right back after you.
Regardless, Davis should probably find a better comparison than Satan when describing the Alabama coach.
Saban has won four national championships.  I am pretty that the devil has yet to win the big one.
Robinson is a sports columnist for The Outlook.