Pasadena, California. – There has been no official word on whether Nick Saban will return as Alabama's football coach after his team lost to Michigan, 27-20, in overtime Monday in the Rose Bowl.
But Terri Saban, the 72-year-old coach's wife, revealed her husband's most pressing plans: watching a movie on Netflix instead of watching Texas play Washington in the second College Football Playoff semifinal game later that night.
Terry Saban greeted his husband with a hug and a few pats on the back after he finished his post-game press conference. They spoke too quietly to be heard, but Terry Saban told USA TODAY Sports this is how their conversation went:
Terry Saban: “Would you like to watch another football game?”
Nick Saban: “Not really.”
Terry Saban: “Okay, let's watch Netflix.”
Terri Saban explained that she and Nick were watching an alien movie. “It's a Turkish movie or something,” she said, adding that having to read subtitles would be helpful for her husband.
“It completely takes your mind off (the defeat),” she said.
She spoke to USA TODAY Sports while standing with a small group of people near the big tent where Nick Saban conducted his postgame interview. He did not talk about his plans for next season.
When USA TODAY Sports asked Terry Saban if her husband would continue to coach, a young woman interrupted.
“We are not answering questions like this at the moment,” she said.
When asked if her husband was doing well after the loss, Terry said: “After 52 years of doing this, we've been there before, right? And she's trying to find the silver lining to teach other players next time.”
What did Saban say about the final play call?
Nick Saban noted that the final play call of Alabama's season came from his first-year offensive coordinator, Tommy Reese. He will never go down as one of the favorites in Alabama football history.
With Alabama facing fourth-and-goal on the Michigan 3-yard line in overtime, quarterback Jalen Milroe took the snap and ran up the middle. He got a yard before Michigan defenders made the tackle and ended the game.
Michigan called timeout and then Alabama called before running the play.
“We called three plays,” Saban said. “One we called a 'timeout,' one we called a 'timeout,' and one didn't make it. The fact that it didn't make it made it a really bad call. You know what I mean?”
“But we called a timeout because we looked bad. We got a good look at the first one. They must have known that.”
Regardless, Reese wanted the ball in Milroe's hands, according to Saban.
“… Tommy felt like the best thing we could do was play up the middle, which was kind of our two-point play, one of our two-point plays in this game,” he said.
What's the deal with bad shots?
Milroe and center Seth McLaughlin have had nearly four months to resolve the issues they've had since the start of the season. No luck.
With Milroe operating mostly outside the shotgun formation, McCloughin fired several off-target shots.
Two of the back-to-back plays came early in the third quarter, the second resulting in a sack and a 6-yard loss.
When asked after the game about this issue, Milroe said, “The quarterback and the quarterback have to have a great relationship and that's something we've tried to build throughout the entire season. There's a lot of things that Seth and I talked about in that regard. That's something we talk about.”
McLaughlin, a senior, took over as the team's starting center midway through the 2022 season.
Saban raves about the team's turnaround
Yes, Saban admitted he was disappointed by the loss.
“But the one thing I told them in the locker room after the game is that this is one of the most incredible seasons in the history of Alabama football in terms of where this team comes from, what they've been able to accomplish and what they've been able to do, is win an SEC championship,” he said. And I'm really, really proud of this group.
Alabama's season looked ready to unravel after a 34-24 loss to Texas in the second week of the season and an uninspiring 21-7 victory over South Florida in the third week of the season. But the Crimson Tide turned its season around on an 11-game winning streak that culminated in a win over Georgia in the SEC Championship game.
“As a coach, you're always trying to make your team get better and be the best they can be, and I think this team probably improved from the South Florida game and the Texas game early in the season as much as any other team. I've coached before,” Saban said.
“It takes a lot of hard work. A lot of people are very committed to doing the things they need to do to self-evaluate and improve their level of play, and all these players have come into this team and done it in a first-class way.
“That's why I think for me as a coach, and maybe not for everyone, it's one of the teams that I'll always remember the most and I'll always be the most proud of.”
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