Nick Saban, Alabama Players Discuss Post-Georgia Locker Room Celebration
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Break out your dancing shoes, Alabama fans.
After Saturday's 41-24 victory over No. 3 Georgia for No. 2 Alabama football, Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide danced in the locker room to celebrate the big win.
The video, originally shared on Alabama football's social media pages, has since been removed but can still be found on in the internet in some places like WVTM 13's Facebook page.
During Monday's player availability, both junior defensive back Patrick Surtain II and senior running back Najee Harris talked about their coach's dancing and celebrating the win over the Bulldogs.
Surtain reiterated the team's 24-hour rule, a strict policy where players are given 24 hours to celebrate a victory before returning to practice and moving on from the previous weekend's success.
“He was excited for the win, which you know we have a 24-hour rule so you know I believe he wasn’t as excited," Surtain said. "He was still happy though but it’s good to see coach like that.”
After missing the later half of last week due to a positive COVID-19 test that turned out to be false, Saban reunited with his team just hours before the game.
Regarding his return, Harris said he was glad to be able to celebrate with him after the win.
“Yeah, it was exciting to see Coach Saban dance," Harris chuckled. "We were glad to have him back. Glad to see him celebrate with us.”
In his weekly Monday virtual press conference with the media, Saban spoke at-length about the celebration video. The 68-year-old head coach said that after a big win he enjoys seeing his players excited.
Saban also spoke on how he gets frustrated when his team begins to expect winning.
"It was an emotional game," Saban said. "It was a big game. I love seeing the players have fun and enjoy themselves when they feel a sense of accomplishment because we have a tremendous amount of respect for Georgia and the team they had and what it was going to take to have a chance to be successful against them, and they were just really excited and I was really happy to see them excited.
"We’ve won games around here where we go into the locker room and everybody just kind of — this is just what everybody expects. And I hate that. I hate to see that. I think everybody should enjoy every win. They’re hard to come by."
Over the past 10-plus years at Alabama under Saban, winning has become more than just a tradition. It has become what is expected from the fans — however unfair to Saban and his players that might be.
Saban said that he feels that that mentality from both his team and the fans is unfair to the ones that put in such hard work.
"The expectation sometimes gets to be, 'Well you’re Alabama and you’re supposed to beat this team and if you don’t beat them a certain way then that’s not good enough,' and I don’t really think that’s fair to the players," Saban said. "These guys work hard. They put a lot into it. And I love to see them enjoy themselves when they have success. So I was very happy to see the players so happy."
Alabama now gears up for a trip to Knoxville, Tenn. to take on the Tennessee Volunteers in its traditional Third Saturday in October rivalry. While its big win over Georgia can provide the Crimson Tide with a lot of momentum for the rest of the regular season, the team must be careful not to get too big of a chip on its shoulder.
In typical Saban fashion, he also summed it all up with a lesson that can be learned from not practicing humility: complacency.
“I really don’t know if they can handle it, so we’ll see if they can handle it," Saban said. "I haven’t seen them since the game. We’ll see them at 1:30 today, and we’ll see how they work this week and how they play in the game. I don’t know how they’re gonna handle it. Hypothetical questions, I don’t have a crystal ball. I hope they have enough maturity to handle it the way they need to, but we won’t know until we practice all week and until we see how they play in the game.”