Paul Finebaum weighs the impact of Nick Saban's absence in the Iron Bowl
Nick Saban won’t be the first SEC coach to miss his team’s game this season, but his absence, and resulting impact, are up for debate.
Of course the Alabama coach, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, has been through a bit of a dress rehearsal with these changing logistics since he put offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian in charge ahead of the Georgia game before Saban’s false positive test was revealed. Saban last month got three straight negative tests in order to coach against Georgia.
On ESPN’s “Get Up,” analyst Paul Finebaum shared his thoughts about the unique dynamic.
“I don’t think it’s going to have a big impact. Yes, this is a rivalry game. This is the Iron Bowl. Remember, Gus Malzahn has won two of the last three against coach Nick Saban. Find someone else who can make that statement outside of Clemson, S.C,” Finebaum said, per 247Sports. “Beyond that, they have confidence in Sarkisian. He’s been a head coach at Washington and Southern Cal. They’ve been through this drill before. I think that’s the one thing that’s helping them, and also the last time, it was against Georgia. At that point before we knew Saban was coming back, Alabama had not played that well. The defense was shaky. The defense has really turned it up many steps now. There’s a much-higher degree of confidence going into this game.”
Saban will spend the rest of the week working from home and won’t be able to communicate with the team before or during the game against Auburn because of NCAA rules. While the game is the featured, “SEC on CBS” game, Saban plans to follow the game on the video feed Alabama uses to evaluate the game.