Tuscaloosa, Al. – During Alabama’s 2023 pro day, Nick Saban was dismissive regarding the primary drawback NFL scouts have with former Crimson Tide quarterback and top draft prospect Bryce Young: his size. At five-foot-10 and under 200 pounds, Young would be the smallest first-round draft pick at the quarterback position in NFL history.
Saban didn’t see that as a problem, though. “There really isn’t a negative,” he said to a gathered press scrum inside the University of Alabama’s Hank Crisp Indoor Facility regarding Young’s sub-six-foot frame.
Saban even evoked the name of retired future NFL Hall of Famer Drew Brees to give perspective on how little height matters if a quarterback is proficient in every other area. “Drew Brees was always the biggest nemesis Nick Saban ever had whether it was at Michigan State when he was at Purdue or in the NFL,” Saban said. “He was five-foot-11 or whatever.”
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The 71-year-old coach then made a keen observation: Young will be lining up opposite many of the same players he faced during his two years as a starter in the SEC.
“It wasn’t an issue in his college career,” Saban prefaced before saying, “And he’s going to be playing a lot of the same players in that league that he did in the SEC.”
Nick Saban Denies Nate Oats Shot During Alabama Pro Day
Saban was predictably asked about whether or not his comments addressing suspended recruit Tony Mitchell — in which the Crimson Tide football coach claimed there was “no such thing as the wrong place at the wrong time” — were directed towards Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats. While addressing Crimson Tide hoops star Brandon Miller’s presence at the scene of the murder of Jamea Harris during a February 21 press conference, Oats claimed Miller was at “the wrong spot at the wrong time.”
Saban’s response was that he doesn’t watch the press conferences of any basketball coach. Even his own employer’s.
“There’s nothing to clarify, Saban prefaced before saying. “I don’t watch basketball coaches’ press conferences. How many years have I been coaching? Never watched one, never listen to what other people say.”
Saban assured the media that his comments were about his own program only.
“That was strictly about our program and what we do,” he said. “It had nothing to do with anybody else. I don’t make any comments about anybody else.”
Nick Saban Says Bryce Young Was Like On-field Coach
While speaking to Steve Smith and Mike Garafolo on the NFL Network during Alabama’s pro day, Saban gushed about Young’s knowledge and understanding of the game — even going as far as to say that Young functioned like an on-field coach.
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“Bryce Young always watched the previous game before the coaches watched it,” Saban said. “He’d be in the film room all Sunday breakdown our next opponent and go over game plans of what we should do. This past year, he was as good as having a coach on the field.”
Saban then complimented Young at Alabama’s 2022 coaching staff’s expense.
“Bryce is as smart and as well-prepared as our entire coaching staff,” Saban said.