Nick Saban loves him some Tommy Rees. If that professional admiration weren't obvious before last week, SEC Media Days made it clear.
Saban has always complimented newcomers to that position at this event in the past, but those compliments tended to be muted and generic. How do I know? I compared the Media Days transcripts of his remarks about his eight previous OCs at Alabama.
Eight in 16 years. Count 'em in chronological order: Major Applewhite, Jim McElwain, Doug Nussmeier, Lane Kiffin, Brian Daboll, Mike Locksley, Steve Sarkisian and Bill O'Brien.
Saban said nice things at Media Days about all of them before their first seasons in Tuscaloosa. He was more specific and effusive in his praise for Rees, who has the makings of a rising star as the young gun hired to take the Alabama offense back to the future. Expect less finesse and no nonsense.
"Tommy Rees is one of the brightest young guys that I've seen in a long time in this business," Saban said, "and he's been a great addition and brought a lot of positives to the offensive side of the ball in terms of his ideas and how he relates to players, how he presents to players. His energy and enthusiasm on the field has been contagious. I think I see a great trust in our players with Tommy and what he tries to do from a leadership standpoint on offense."
Wow. Is it rat poison when Saban sings the praises of someone in his organization at operatic levels, or only when the media does it? ...
Read the rest of Kevin's column on the QB/OC formula that tends to work best at Alabama in terms of winning national titles. Only in the Lede.