Nick Saban, Dylan Moses share thoughts on playing in limited-capacity stadiums
When Alabama travels to Missouri on Sept. 26, Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri will be at just 25 percent capacity. When the Crimson Tide return home to host Texas A&M, Bryant-Denny Stadium will be at just 20 percent capacity. Nick Saban recently shared his initial thoughts on what it will be like playing for smaller crowds in 2020.
“It’s going to be different,” Saban recently told CBS Sports, according to Bama OnLine’s Charlie Potter.
“The game is not going to change, the field’s still going to be 53 yards wide and 100 yards deep and the technical aspects of playing the game is going to be the same as it’s always been. But the atmosphere that the game is played in is going to completely change. It’s going to change for the fans, it’s going to change for the players, it’s going to change for the people who watch.
“But what’s more important is, I think, having the opportunity to watch games, especially the game that you love — which a lot of people love football — they may have to watch on TV rather than being able to attend the game, but at least we’re going to have games and it’s going to be an opportunity for players to create value.
“And even though it’s going to be different for them, because they love to compete in the spirit and emotion that fans create, it may not be the same from that standpoint. But the game itself is still going to be football.”
Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses agreed with his head coach.
“Honestly, whether there are fans or not, I’m going to still play my game,” Moses said. “It doesn’t make a difference for me. I’ve been playing about since I was seven, and whether it was fans in the stadium or not, it didn’t really matter.”
Saban said true competitors won’t be brought down by the different gameday atmosphere.
“The pride in performance is what is always the No. 1 thing with the competitor,” Saban said. “So, if you’re out there competing, whether it’s any game that you play — especially in rivalry games — the emotion of those games don’t come because of the atmosphere. The atmosphere is always great in those games and it’s something that makes it unique to be able to participate in those circumstances. But still, the pride and performance of being able to be successful in a game like that is still the No. 1 goal.”
Alabama and other SEC teams are currently scheduled to be playing in stadiums limited to 20-25 percent capacity, with the exception of Vanderbilt. VU is currently not allowing fans through the end of October.