Posted by Tom Fornelli
I turned 30 recently, and it's somewhat of an odd age. On one hand, I realize that I'm not a kid anymore, but at the same time, I sure as hell don't feel like a full-fledged adult yet. Still, the signs are starting to creep in, and they're scary. Just the other day the words "kids these days" came out of my mouth, and they came out in a direct, non-sarcastic tone.
I don't want to turn into that person that compares the world of today with the world of my youth, or how things were when I was younger. I'm afraid that when it happens I'll officially be old.
This is not a fear that Nick Saban has. He's in full-blown "back in my day" mode at the moment, particularly when it comes to questioning the toughness of today's football player. Following his team's win against Ole Miss on Saturday, the Alabama taskmaster went on a bit of a rant about it.
"That's what I tell the players all the time, and they hate to hear it, but now I'm going to say it publicly so they can really get upset about it," said Saban.
"You're telling the other guy you're beating me up, I'm hurt and I'm going to stay down here. It's just like a boxer. If you go down, get up. If you've got to come out for a play, come out for a play. But that's just me. I'm old-fashioned. I know they don't make 'em like they used to. ...
"But a guy lays on the ground and eight trainers go out there and everybody thinks he's hurt and he gets up and runs off the field. When I played, my coach, you wouldn't want to meet him on the sideline. So if you stayed down, you'd better really be hurt."
While Saban brings up some good points -- I'm tired of guys rolling around on the ground like they've been shot because they have a cramp -- he also misses one giant one completely. He also has horrible timing considering Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand being paralyzed over the weekend.
Still, the one point Saban truly misses on is one he kind of makes. It's true, they don't make players like they used to anymore. The players of today are bigger, stronger and faster than the ones of the past. Which means that collisions are more violent, and will lead to more injuries. Bones are still bones, after all, and those things can break.
Saban could just ask his own wide receiver Julio Jones, who finished the South Carolina game with a broken hand. Is that tough enough for Saban?
Some other things Saban thinks they just don't make like they used to? First, hair gel. "They're all scented now and make me smell girly." Then there are scholarship limits. "Why the hell can't I sign every player in the country!? If they want to come here, why can't I have them?"*
*Those last two quotes may not actually be true.