Alabama coach Nick Saban opened his first news conference for the 2019 season answering questions about Ohio State and former wide receivers coach Zach Smith. After a public records release on Friday by Ohio State revealed text messages from Urban Meyer to an unknown recipient about Smith's potential departure for Tuscaloosa.
When Saban talked to reporters on Saturday, he said he spoke with Smith, but said he never offered him a job on his staff.
"I think it's pretty common that sometimes people that get interviewed someplace or someone calls and shows interest in them," said Saban. "It's the way this profession works is that you go in and use that as leverage to try and improve your situation where you are now, especially if you have a job or you decide that that's a better opportunity for you. We talk to a lot of coaches about a lot of things. I really never did ever offer this guy a job."
Saban went on to say that Alabama decided to go in a different direction after vetting Smith following the interview process.
"He did a nice job in the interview," Saban said. "But it was when we did the background check that we decided that there was a better opportunity to hire somebody else, and that's what we did."
Meyer, the former Ohio State coach, said in a text message to an unknown recipient in January 2018 that Smith was offered a job at Alabama.
"Zach Smith was offered wr/passing game coord at Alabama. Went there to talk to Saban," reads the text from Meyer. "At first thought maybe he should go then decided that all effort I've put (into) him and it's Alabama. I told him to stay, and he turned it down. Every (expletive) day it's something."
Smith was fired by Meyer and Ohio State six months later after reports revealed a history of domestic abuse allegations against him. Meyer's handling of the situation with Smith led to him being suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season.
As for the job Meyer claims Smith was offered at Alabama, and Saban denies, the job ultimately went to Josh Gattis. Gattis is now the offensive coordinator at Michigan.