Nick Saban dished out some respect for the Georgia football team in his Monday press conference this week.

Or was it some future NCAA Hall of Fame coach super-sized “rat poison” for a No. 3 Georgia team on the way to Tuscaloosa?

Judge for yourself.

About the meeting this week with Georgia 

“We’re looking forward to returning home. Playing against an outstanding Georgia team. This is you know probably one of the best teams in the country. Kirby has done an outstanding job there. They’ve got really good personnel. They played well in all phases of the game.”

On the Georgia defense

“Their defense is especially very very good. Probably maybe the best defensive team in the country all the way around. When you talk about stopping the run, having good pass defense, getting off the field on third down. They’ve been very efficient in affecting every part of the game.”

“They have good players. They can rush the passer. They can play the point so really good defensive team.” 

On the Georgia offense

“Offensively, they’ve been able to control the ball. They are one of the leading teams in the country in time of possession. They do a good job of running it. Show really good balance. They’ve got really good backs. Zamir White is an outstanding player but they have several other outstanding backs. The quarterback has been very efficient for them.”

“They have really good skill guys. They spread the ball around. Play a lot of different skill guys. George Pickens has played well for them. They are a very very well-balanced offensive team.”

On the Georgia offense

“They have very good specialists. Really good punter. Really good kicker. Very good return guys and they play really well on special teams.” 

“Not a lot of weaknesses in this team. It is going to be really challenging for us to be able to execute the way we need to execute on all cylinders to be able to be successful in this game.” 

On Stetson Bennett IV

“He’s done an outstanding job. He’s played within himself. Made good choices and decisions. They have great balance in their offense. They’ve got good play-action passes. He’s really just facilitated everything that he has needed to do from his position to help all the other good players that they have make a lot of plays.” 

“He’s athletic. He’s extended plays at times. I think the guy has done an outstanding job and has really executed well for them.” 

Do those comments land as genuine praise for a worthy foe? Or does it seem like more of the same “coach speak” we heard from Gus Malzahn during Auburn week?

It was still a highly complimentary day for Saban on the first day of preparations for Georgia on Saturday.

He will meet his longtime former defensive coordinator Kirby Smart at home.

It will mark Smart’s first trip back to Tuscaloosa as the Georgia coach after he took the job in Athens after the 2015 season. Smart’s teams are 0-2 against Alabama in the two postseason meetings in the BCS National Championship game in January of 2018 and later that year in December in the SEC Championship Game.

Georgia led the Tide almost wire-to-wire in both of those contests only to lose in overtime and in the final minutes.

Georgia at Alabama

Check out the reads so far this week on DawgNation