DN90: UGA, Alabama had wildly different responses to tough questions at Media Days

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UGA coach Kirby Smart and Alabama coach Nick Saban faced questions about coming up short for the national championship last week at SEC Media Days.

SEC Media Days is one of the events on the college football calendar that’s exciting for what it means – it signifies the season is drawing closer – but rarely all that interesting for what it provides.

Most coaches and players who attend the event – held this year once again in Hoover, Ala. after being in Atlanta in 2018 – try hard not to say anything that could get them in trouble, which means they also rarely say anything interesting.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart and the players who represented the Bulldogs last week seemingly perfected the art of speaking without saying anything of note. And while that might disappoint some of the reporters gathered in a hotel ballroom hoping for a juicy quote, it suits most fans just fine – especially in comparison to one of the Bulldogs’ top foes.

Alabama wasn’t nearly as careful about avoiding controversy when it appeared at Media Days.

That’s the subject of this edition of DN90.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban appeared to play the blame game when asked about falling short of a national championship last season.

“When we won the LSU game, it just seemed like a lot of people’s own agendas started to become more important,” Saban said last week in an interview on the SEC Network with Paul Finebaum. “We had a lot of guys who wanted to be coaches in different places. It takes a special person to stay focused on what they have to do now when they have a job somewhere else that’s awaiting them… and we had a lot of that on our staff last year.”

Mike Locksley was Alabama’s offensive coordinator last year before becoming head coach at Maryland at season’s end. Unsurprisingly, he was asked about Saban’s comments at Big 10 media days last week.

Locksley doesn’t think Saban was referencing him when he spoke of distracted assistants.

“I can sleep at night knowing we did a great job,” Locksley said. “We broke records there on offense. We gave ourselves a chance to win except one game, which I understand the expectation at Alabama is to win championships and we picked the national championship to not execute well.”

No matter which former assistant Saban was referencing, his comments could be taken as giving less than full credit for Clemson for beating his team in the national championship game. Furthermore, Saban wasn’t the only Alabama representative last week for whom that criticism could’ve been made.

Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses wasn’t willing to say Clemson’s national championship win proved it was superior to the Crimson Tide.

“I wouldn’t say they were a better team because we both have great athletes on both sides of the ball,” Moses said. “It was like we didn’t prepare as much for Clemson and they obviously prepared for us. They game-planned better than us.”

Those kinds of statements didn’t sit well with Clemson, and many media members knocked Alabama for what appeared to be a lack of humility.

Compared to that, UGA’s uneventful Media Days appearance seems a lot better.

Of course, it would be taking things too far to say Alabama’s war of words with Clemson created a distraction that’ll extend into the season.

Nonetheless, it’s not a great look for the Crimson Tide.

For more of what UGA said at Media Days, and what critics said about Alabama, click the video linked above.

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