Alright, here's the speech where Saban goes off on depth charts:
"Ya know, I want our fans to know out there that we don't have a depth chart here, aiight!?" Saban said, just getting warmed up. "So anyone out here in the media who writes about a depth chart and really kinda disrespects some of our players based on their depth chart is really not being very professional. Without checking with us first."
"(It is) based on little or no legitimate information to make such a judgment," he said. "We don't really have a depth chart, I've tried to tell you guys that. We have guys that work in groups for administrative reasons."
"There are some guys on our team that have proved they can be starters and you know who they are," he continued. "There are a lot of other guys who have an opportunity to compete to be starters or to be backups and we're going to continue to evaluate those guys and put them in different positions so that they have a chance to do that. That does not mean they're first-team or got demoted from first-team."
"It would be very similar to me putting on the Internet," said Saban, who really doesn't know how to use the Internet, "that one of you got fired and replaced by somebody else when that's really not true. The whole world (would) think it's true. And you would come to me and say, 'How could you say that about me? How could you do that? You're so unprofessional of you. That's mean.' But that's what y'all do to our players, just to try to create something, so..."
"I'd appreciate if you think that something like that is happening... we'll be glad to tell you," he said. "We'll be glad to tell you... when we make that decision, we'll be glad to tell you."
Sophomore defensive lineman Josh Chapman took reps with the first-team defense at nose tackle today in the first significant signal of a possible change on the University of Alabama’s defensive depth chart since the open of fall football practice.
Junior defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington, who had been running at first team, took snaps with the second-team defense at nose tackle.
So, Nick Saban was upset that a local journalist, allowed to watch a little practice like some other reporters were, actually reported what he saw, which was an apparent "possible change" in the defensive depth chart. According to Saban,
- There is no depth chart,
- Reporting that there's a depth chart is unprofessional,
- Saying someone possibly moved to backup nose tackle is disrespecting the player, and
- Who a player is running drills with does not mean much.
First, bullcrap. There's a depth chart.
Second, what on earth do you expect the reporters that you allow to watch practice to actually report? If a reporter can't report on what appears to be a modest change in the depth chart, why would you even invite the media to watch?
Third, is anyone going to remember in two days which nose tackle was practicing with the first team on Monday? Why is this important enough to antagonize the media over?
My first thought was that this had nothing to do with the media, and that he was trying to send his team a message, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what that message is. To me, the message he's sending is that it's OK to feel disrespected when a media member suggests you may, just may, have moved down the depth chart.
If there really is no depth chart, or if the reporter just so happened to be watching at a time when what he saw would mislead him, shouldn't the message be to sluff it off and show him the next day? So, I don't believe Saban was sending a message to his team. I think he was genuinely miffed, but with absolutely no reason to be so.
Reporters report. They see. They say. It's early August and the media knows its readers are itching for anything about football, especially at the freakin' Tuscaloosa News, the paper with the most in depth coverage of Alabama football anywhere. You let the reporters in for 10 minutes and expect them not to write about seeing what appeared to be a depth chart shift? What were they supposed to write?
Nick Saban characterizes the article as analogous to him reporting that a journalist has been fired and replaced. First, no. Second, NO! Third, allowing the media into practice and then chastizing them reporting what they see is like letting a food critic into your restaurant and criticizing them for writing about the dessert. It's their job, and if you don't want them doing it, don't let them in.
I see no way in which the team benefits from this childish tirade. Yes, Saban tweaks the media, but I get the sense that the media is starting to care less and less if they get tweaked. Universally the (usually very pro-Bama, pro-Saban) talk radio guys said they thought this was some combination of ridiculous or pointless.
There's a difference between being testy with the media to the point that they fear you a little bit and being arbitrarily angry with the media to the point where they think you might go off on them for anything and so they might as well just ignore it. I think Saban crossed that line on Tuesday, and it's going to be hard to go back. I get the sense that the media is saying, "Whatever," to his face and flipping him off when he turns his back.