Alabama players describe moment Nick Saban returned to team Saturday
For a couple of days this past week, there was a strong chance that Nick Saban would not be coaching in the game against Georgia. The Alabama head coach tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday and was sent home away from his team to quarantine. Sure, he coached some from Zoom, but that’s not even remotely comparable to being at practice.
On Thursday and Friday, however, the tide starting to turn for Saban, no pun intended. Fast forward to Saturday, Saban remained asymptomatic and had 3 negative COVID-19 tests that allowed him to be cleared for the game.
Saban kept saying all week that he still hoped to coach in the game, and as the week went on, it was evident that was a real possibility. Thankfully for Alabama, it turned into reality prior to the Tide’s 41-24 win over Georgia.
Alabama’s head coach tested negative for the third straight time Saturday, and he returned to the football facility before the game. Saban described it as an “emotional” moment.
“And I also really appreciate it, which I said earlier, the fact that the players handled the disruption without an issue,” Saban said after the win over Georgia. “I think that’s the big thing. So, it was emotional for me to come back today. Now, I think they handled the disruption really, really well. I’m not sure me coming back today — I think they were ready to play this game whether I was there or not.”
Quarterback Mac Jones, who threw for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns against UGA’s top-ranked defense, described the moment of Saban’s return.
“It was pretty crazy,” Jones said. “We were in our little quarterback meeting and he just showed up. I looked over and Coach Saban was walking in. From that perspective, we were fired up.”
Linebacker Dylan Moses also recalled the moment he saw his head coach.
“We were confident when we saw him walk into our meeting before our walk-through,” Moses said. “The energy definitely went up and our confidence level went through the roof.”
Georgia set the energy level in the first half and led at halftime, but Alabama clamped down on UGA’s offense in the second half and outscored the Bulldogs 21-0 for the win.