The way Alabama lost to Clemson in the national championship game earlier this year may have been shocking to most, but Nick Saban knew from early November on that an outcome like that was possible.
In a recent interview with Greg McElroy of SEC Network, Saban said the Crimson Tide were distracted after blowing No. 3-ranked LSU out 29-0 on Nov. 2, and the team lost its “humility.”
“From the LSU game on last year, I (think) we lost our humility, which can create a little complacency and a blatant disregard for doing what’s right,” Saban said.
“We had a lot of internal distractions from people in terms of, ‘Am I going out for the draft or am I taking another job?’ It was a little disappointing that we couldn’t keep it together. Obviously my responsibility is to keep everybody up to snuff in all those areas. But I think sometimes when you lose, people are much more willing to say, okay I’m going to look in the mirror now and what is the truth about what we did or didn’t do.”
Saban does everything he can to prevent his teams from becoming complacent, and that’s why he has described the media as “rat poison” for his players. He believes when college athletes constantly hear about how good they are, they start to believe it and lose their edge. Alabama was undefeated heading into the title game against Clemson last year, so it’s no surprise he believes the media hype became an issue.
At one point last year, Saban was so concerned about his players having inflated egos that he openly asked the media to talk about the team’s flaws more. He probably wishes the Tide would have lost a game sooner so he could have used it as motivation.