Nick Saban was on a Saturday night.
Fresh off a 55-0 season opening win over Utah State, the Crimson Tide coach was ready for a few rounds of verbal chess in the press conference.
The Biggest Loser: Depth Charts.
In short, they can also be gone.
The boiling point came after a few questions about starters and rotations six days after the coveted depth maps were distributed. The Holy Game Week document has gained in value in recent years as media viewing periods were taken out of the routine. The magazines distributed Monday offered a first look at where players entered Utah State’s week, beyond video and photos distributed via UA Athletics.
After a question about rotating cornerbacks, Saban was asked if Javion Cohen started from the right guard when Emil Ekiyor was listed as the starter on the depth map.
“You guys need to get off the depth chart a little bit,” Saban said, finishing. “Aight and forget who started and who didn’t. Emil missed five training days prior to the competition and he only practiced two days. We wanted to play him in the game but he didn’t practice much so we didn’t want to play with him too much and it was only fair to the other guy who started on the days he was out.”
“So Emil is still the novice judge guard.”
And the depth chart? RIP, probably.
“My biggest problem – and this might be the last time you ever get one – my biggest problem for the whole team was the day the depth chart came out,” Saban said. “So you may have seen the last one. You may have seen the last…. Because that’s all you’re worried about. We have competition in our team. We have good players. It’s not just…I have in my mind seven or eight players who can play winning football on the offensive line, I’m going to play them all.”
“I know you think I’m crazy,” he concluded, “and it doesn’t bother me at all.”
The Monday of the opening week of competition has long been known as the day of the depth chart as Alabama decides who will start and who will be the backup. Positions such as cornerback remained precarious, so the four co-starters switched series in the first quarter.
When asked about that, he was ready to spar.
“Did I ever say something I wouldn’t do?” said Saban. ‘Why did you come to believe that? I told you we had competition on the corner. So what did I ever say to make you believe they wouldn’t all be in the game?”
Saban interrupted the attempted response.
“I’m curious, just as you were surprised that they were all in the game. I never said they wouldn’t be in the game. I said there’s a lot of competition at corners and I don’t know who our best corners were, so we played them all in the game to see who would play the best.
“So I’m curious why you’d be surprised about that. I’m curious. You’re curious. We are all curious.”
That led to the question about the attacking guards.
And now Alabama is turning its attention to a week 2 trip to Texas to face a Longhorn team that made headlines when it failed to release a depth chart last week ahead of its 52-10 win over ULM.
Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande or on facebook.
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