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  • Writer's pictureKevin Scarbinsky

If Nick Saban is this relaxed now, every Alabama opponent should be on edge

The strangest thing happened Wednesday morning at SEC Football Media Days. I went to a Nick Saban press conference, and Story Time with Grandpa Nick broke out.

He started off by telling us what he did on his summer vacation, touring Italy with wife Terry, which was a belated 50th wedding anniversary gift from friends. Thought no one would recognize him there, but "we got 'Roll Tided' everywhere we went," even at the Ferrari plant, and "these cats don't even speak English."

Cool story, Daddy-O, tell me more. The only thing missing from his Italian travelogue was a lengthy slideshow of poorly lit snapshots.

Then Coach Saban took over. He talked ball, letting us know Alabama has lots of new players and coaches, per usual, and he's a big fan of the work fresh offensive coordinator Tommy Rees has done. He touched on the mental game he masters as well as anyone with this bit of wisdom: "Expectations in some way are a premeditated way to create disappointment."

Translation: You should probably pick Georgia to win the league and LSU to win the West. Please and thank you.

Next thing you knew, he was a kid again, Little Nick standing by the oven watching Grandma Saban bake a cake because "Grandma Saban used to bake the best cakes in the world." Being Little Nick with a big sweet tooth later satisfied by Little Debbies, he would keep asking, "When is this cake going to be done? When is this cake going to be done?"

The Saban family wisdom provided the answer. "If I don't let it go through and take it out of the oven too soon," Grandma said, "it will turn to mush, and it won't be a really good cake."

And then Little Nick became Coach Saban again, cakes turned into quarterbacks and the theme of preseason camp emerged for a proud program that is not the reigning SEC or national champion for just the second time in the last nine years. "Make sure we let the cake bake."

It was at that point that I expected SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey to retake the stage and rip off the imposter's frighteningly real Saban mask, revealing that the Alabama coach had been doubled, Mission Impossible style, by Lane Kiffin. ...

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Alabama coach Nick Saban has stories, cooking tips, life advice and more at SEC Football Media Days in Nashville.

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