By LARRY VAUGHT
Tonight Alabama coach Nick Saban will try to win another national championship when the Crimson Tide plays Clemson, the same team it beat in last year’s national title game.
Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari says he has an “incredible” appreciation for what Saban has done at Alabama.
“I look at what Alabama’s done – and he’s done it with different staffs. The advantage they have over us is they have returning guys. Some leave and then they have a mass group returning that can really teach the new guys. You have redshirting and different things that make the kids older and you get more of a chance to teach them,” Calipari said.
“But, with that being said, so does every other football team, so why in the heck are they doing what they’re doing? He’s incredible. I mean, he’s incredible. And then I go to Geno Auriemma in women’s basketball (at UConn). They may win 100 straight games. You cannot make a movie about it. Why? It’s just not believable.
“You don’t believe that – that someone won 100 straight games. So when they write the movie, ‘Ah, no one’s going. Can’t win 100.’ You can’t win it in a video game, 100 straight games. When you talk about that consistency year in and year out – and I coach, so I know how hard it is – there’s a culture they’ve created that there’s an expectation within their team, yet their kids stay in the moment. How in the world do you do that?
“There’s an expectation that we’re going to win all these games, yet you stay in the moment. Let’s just do what we do today. And then, I’m going to tell you, on all those teams I just said, they have trust. Everybody trusts, ‘I can be reckless. Do my job, but be reckless and aggressive because someone will have my back. I trust someone’s got my back.’ And then they can go play. For those coaches, they’re unique. There would be other coaches doing what they’re doing if there weren’t just one or two of those guys and ladies. What those two guys are doing with those programs, wow.
“And Clemson is doing it in another way. And they’re really good now. People are acting like Alabama is just winning. I’m sorry. I mean, that other team is showing up and they have an expectation that they’re going to win. But yeah, I’ve got great respect for all those guys.”