Nick Saban on Monday addressed his heated response during a postgame interview with ESPN’s Maria Taylor, with Alabama’s football coach saying of the incident, “I could’ve handled it in a better way,’’ and “it was totally my responsibility and we apologize for it.’’
Saban also confirmed reports that he spoke to Taylor after the on-field interview that took place Saturday night following Alabama’s 51-14 victory over Louisville.
“And I pray every Sunday that I never get angry,’’ Saban said Monday during his regularly scheduled news conference. “But it was a time and circumstance thing for me. I was a little upset by the way we finished the game, the penalties that we had, the mental errors that we had.’’
Saban also implied he had been asked to vilify one of his quarterbacks during the interview with ESPN’s Taylor.
“…if I get asked to vilify a player and make another one a crown prince publicly, I might not respond to that and I need to learn a better way to respond to that,’’ he said. “And I will in the future.’’
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After Alabama’s season opener Saturday, which ended intense speculation about who Saban would start at quarterback, ESPN’s Taylor asked him, “What answers did you have after watching both of your quarterbacks play tonight?’’
Tua Tagovailoa started and threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns on 12-of-16 passing and rushed for 26 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Jalen Hurts, Alabama’s starter the past two seasons, threw for 70 yards on 5-of-9 passing and rushed for nine yards on three carries.
“Well, I still like both guys. I think both guys are good players,” Saban told Taylor, before his tone shifted. “I think both guys can help our team, all right? So why do you continually try to get me to say something that doesn’t respect one of them? I’m not going to. So quit asking.”
On Monday, Saban confirmed Tagovailoa will start Saturday during Alabama’s game at Mississippi. And when addressing his heated reaction during the onfield interview, he referred something he’d said earlier in his news conference.
“Just to be clear about something, I love all of our players on our team,’’ Saban said. “And I think as parents out there you could relate to this, that you love all your children. And sometimes some of your children do things a little better than the others.
“That doesn’t mean you vilify one and you put the other one on a pedestal, especially publicly because you want to support and help both to be successful. And that’s exactly how I feel about our plaers and I just want everybody to understand that.’’
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