Alabama’s Nick Saban not retiring, but understands why the question gets asked

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Alabama’s 2023 season came to an end in a heartbreaking overtime loss to Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinal, but the Rose Bowl won’t be Nick Saban’s final game.

Saban is planning to return as Alabama’s coach in 2024, but the 72-year-old understands why some might wonder if he’s planning to retire soon. 

“Because, I’m getting old, I guess,” Saban said when asked on the “Pat McAfee Show” why questions of him retiring continue. 

Saban does wonder though about a double standard when being asked the question if he’ll still be coaching in the foreseeable future. 

“Look, I ask everybody who asks me that question, ‘Are you going to be here for four year?” he said. “Some players ask me when I’m going to retire. I look at them and say, ‘Can you guarantee me that you’re going to be here for four years? They look at me like, ‘Hell, no, I’m not making that [guarantee].

“I just think it’s the way of the world now, that college football has changed dramatically, especially in the last three or four years.”

Some have wondered if the ever-evolving landscape of college football could push Saban to call it quits sooner rather than later. The Alabama head coach has been vocal over some of the changes in the sport in recent years, questioning the impact of name, image and likeness (NIL) along with the invention and expansion of the College Football Playoff in recent years. 

As Saban continued to express concern about NIL on Thursday, he joined the growing chorus of members in the college football world who have vocalized their displeasure over what happened in the Orange Bowl, where Georgia defeated Florida State by 60.

“What happened in the Florida State-Georgia game, and Kirby [Smart], this happened a few years ago when they faced Texas, is that you got all of these guys opting out of the game,” Saban said, referring to the two dozen Florida State players that opted out in that game. “It’s not good for college football. It’s not good for bowl games. It’s not good for the fans. It’s not good for college football.

“I’m not criticizing the players who chose not to [play], but it’s just not good for college football that people aren’t obligated to fulfill some kind of obligation to their team.”

As for on-field matters, Saban said that Michigan was the first team that the Crimson Tide went against this season that huddled between snaps, calling it a “big difference that nobody” talked about as he said Alabama “didn’t go fast enough.”

Michigan defeats Alabama in Rose Bowl, advances to the National Championship

Michigan defeats Alabama in Rose Bowl, advances to the National Championship

Saban also addressed the final play, where Jalen Milroe was stuffed on a quarterback draw on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line as it needed a touchdown to extend the game. He said that the snap on the play “wasn’t a great snap.” But he also took accountability, saying he should’ve had his team prepared to run another play if it didn’t like Michigan’s defensive look after both teams exchanged timeouts.

“We should’ve looked the play,” Saban said. “When I say look the play, line up in the formation and see what they are in and have a second thing you can go to. We didn’t do that.

“That was our fault as coaches.”

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