At his press conference this week, a fiery Nick Saban sounded off on taking Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponents lightly.
Ahead of No. 2 Alabama’s home game against FCS opponent Charleston Southern this Saturday, a game Bama stands little to gain from, regardless of outcome, Saban made it clear his team is not overlooking the 9-1 Buccaneers, whose quarterback Austin Brown plays at an FBS level.
Taking issue with an idea his team could simply show up and expect a win on Saturday, Saban kicked off a trademark scolding, telling reporters, “You all might be taking the week off this week. But I’m not.”
Recalling his 2011 national championship team’s defensive performance against FCS opponent Georgia Southern, a game in which a Tide defense that had surrendered only 72.2 rushing yards per game by average was taken advantage of for more than 300 ground yards by a potent Eagles option attack, Saban sounded off.
“Well how in the hell do you know they’re going to get to play,” Saban said of his younger players. “What makes you think you can just assume that they’re going to get to play. Because you’re assuming the other team is not very good? They do have a Division I quarterback. He plays like a Division I quarterback.”
He noted his 2011 defense, a group full of future NFL players, “could not stop” Georgia Southern.
“I don’t think we had a guy on that field that didn’t play in the NFL and about four or five of them were first-round draft picks,” Saban said. “And I think that team won a national championship, but I’m not sure.”
“And they ran through our ass like s—t through a tin horn, man. And we could not stop them. Could not stop them. Could not stop them because we could not get a look in practice. We couldn’t practice it right? And everybody said the same thing in that game. Y’all took a week off. This wasn’t important, so it’s not important to anybody else. It has to be important to the players and it has to be important to us.”
Saban also politicked for CSU’s Brown, saying, “They do have a Division I quarterback. He plays like a Division I quarterback.”
Alabama will enter Saturday’s 4 p.m. Eastern game as 38.5-point favorites, according to Odds Shark, but a poor outing could hurt the Tide’s lock on the No. 2 spot in the eyes of the playoff committee.
The Crimson Tide will finish up its regular season on Nov. 28 against a 5-5 Auburn team that is still seeking bowl eligibility.
SEC East foe Georgia, (7-3) will also face an FCS opponent in Georgia Southern this weekend, as part of a mostly underwhelming slate of SEC games.