Saban praises fans for staying 60 minutes in rivalry game
Nick Saban has been adamant about fans remaining in their seats – or preferably standing in front of them – for all 60 minutes of the Crimson Tide’s home games.
Against rival Tennessee, the Alabama faithful answered the bell, providing Bryant-Denny Stadium with its loudest atmosphere of the season for four quarters.
“I certainly appreciated our fans today,” Saban said. “They stayed for the game and did a great job of supporting our team, and it was a great atmosphere for our players to play in.”
The seemingly full student section for the entirety of the game came after a Student Government Association decision to temporarily suspend student organization seating, or block seating, for 21 of the 36 University organizations with designated seats in the endzone of the student section.
Organizations were emailed about the suspension after video footage of the Arkansas game revealed students leaving the game early, according to SGA Director of Media Relations Leela Foley.
SGA President Jimmy Taylor had sent an email to leaders of organizations with block seating Oct. 17, warning them of the review.
“Administrators will review photos and film of the student section from the games,” Taylor said in the emailed statement. “Seating will be taken away from those organizations, who abandon reserved seating. I have also been informed that this is a ‘pilot year’ for SOS and if sections do not remain full, this will likely be the final year of Student Organization Seating.”
The suspended sections were opened to all students. According to the Student Organization Seating handbook, because this is only the first offense, the organizations will regain their block seating in the next game, Foley said. After the second offense, organizations will lose their seating for the remainder of the season.
While the SGA did not release a list of suspended organizations, Foley acknowledged that the organizations whose sections were opened to the general public now have one offense.
The SGA will continue to monitor Student Organization Seating to try and encourage students to stay for the entire length of the games.
Saban said he wants the students to make the decision to stay four quarters.
“I think everybody has the right to do whatever they want to do, especially our students,” Saban said. “We work hard, and we represent this whole university and all the students that go here so that we have a program they can be proud of. I want them to feel as a part of our team, and I know our players love it when they feel as a part of our team. We just ask them to do the same thing that we ask our players to do.”
Players don’t pay as much attention to the dwindling numbers of bodies in the seats during the game, but the noise created by said bodies has an affect on how they perform on the field, especially on defense.
“It definitely plays a role with them staying – like they did today – staying behind us, making things louder and affecting the other team no matter how much we were up,” junior defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan said.
Saban said a patchy stadium is unsettling to see, and it doesn’t represent the nation’s top program when cameras span Bryant-Denny’s crowd toward the end of games.
“I think the image of the whole program, when people don’t stay and support the team, gets affected a little bit,” Saban said. “We’re always going to fight for what we think is in the best interest of our program.”
Saban is “too damn old” to leave Alabama
A sign was displayed in the student section during the game that was mentioned to Saban in his post-game press conference.
“We’ll stay for 60 if you stay forever,” The sign said. Saban smiled when asked about the sign.
“That sounds good to me,” he said.
Rumors had been circulating this week that Saban’s wife, Terry, had been house shopping in Austin, Texas this week. Texas coach Mack Brown is expected to step down at the end of the year.
Saban reiterated that he and Terry were happy in Tuscaloosa.
“I love it here,” he said. “I’m too damn old to go some place else and start all over, I can tell you that.”
Landon Collins returns interception for touchdown
Collins intercepted a Justin Worley pass just before halftime and returned it 89 yards for a touchdown. It was the fifth longest interception return in Alabama history.
“He threw it right to me,” Collins said. “After that it was to the house because I didn’t see anyone in front of me but my linemen. After we got the last block on the quarterback, that was it.”
This was Collins’ first interception of his career, but he returned it like it was a weekly routine. However, senior cornerback Deion Belue said he and his teammates are used to seeing this out of Collins.
“Oh, man, I’ve seen him take [interceptions back] at practice,” Belue said. “It’s the same route, so it didn’t surprise me. He broke on it, and he did the same thing he always does.”
Collins led the team in tackles with six total and five solo. He also forced a fumble.
Injury updates following win over Volunteers
• Nose tackle Brandon Ivory did not play for medical reasons, Saban announced in his post-game press conference. True freshman A’Shawn Robinson started in his place.
• Running back Jalston Fowler sustained a concussion in the first half and did not play in the remainder of the game.
• Ryan Kelly returned to the starting lineup and saw all of the first-team snaps at center after being hampered by a knee injury since the Ole Miss game.