Former Alabama great calls Nick Saban’s potential absence ‘detrimental’ for the Crimson Tide
Georgia football fans are invited to know your opponent each week with DawgNation and get a preview of UGA’s keys to victory each with with Know Your Opponent — presented by The Piedmont Bank. Host Brandon Adams examines the key storylines involving Coach Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs as they attempt to navigate an unprecedented schedule in pursuit of an SEC championship and a berth into the College Football Playoff. This week’s edition of Know Your Opponent focuses on what Nick Saban’s potential absence from Saturday’s game vs. UGA means for the Crimson Tide according to former Alabama great Barrett Jones.
Know Your Opponent: Former Alabama great calls Nick Saban’s potential absence ‘detrimental’ for the Crimson Tide
The biggest story of the season thus far arguably took place this week when Alabama coach Nick Saban announced he’d tested positive for the coronavirus.
The immediate assumption was that Saban would automatically be prevented from participating in this week’s game due to the positive test. However, as of Friday, Saban was still hoping to be medically cleared, and at least one member of the ESPN College Game Day broadcast team has predicted Saban will find a way to be on the sideline.
Of course, if Saban doesn’t receive the series of negative tests he needs to be in Bryant-Denny Stadium, NCAA rules prohibit him from having contact with anyone on his staff during the game period — which begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
One of the most decorated players to ever play for Saban, former offensive lineman Barrett Jones says Saban’s potential absence could be a significant problem for the Crimson Tide.
“It’s definitely going to be a very different atmosphere,” Jones said. “It’s going to be very unusual to see a different person over there walking the sideline other than Nick Saban.”
Jones says Saban’s absence could hurt the Crimson Tide some on game day, and probably has already made preparations more difficult.
Jones also rejects the notion that Saban’s condition and the unusual circumstances that could lead to him missing the game could be a potential rallying point for Alabama players.
“I’m sure [Alabama] will spin it that way if they win, that they wanted to win it for Coach Saban” Jones said. “But I don’t think that it will actually have any impact on the result of the game.
“If they were choosing having some extra motivation vs. having him there, I think they would choose to have him there.”
That choice might not be available to the Crimson Tide Saturday and the eyes of plenty of curious fans will be tuned in to see how much Saban’s absence truly hurts Alabama.
For more of Jones’ thoughts on Saban’s potential absence from the UGA game, check out the latest edition of Know Your Opponent, linked above.