On Tuesday afternoon, Alabama defensive back Jordan Battle sent social media into a frenzy when he was asked about what were some of his favorite nuggets of wisdom coach Nick Saban likes to share.
Misunderstanding the intention of the question, Battle remarked on jokes that Saban likes to make in practices — highlighted by a known favorite of Saban's, 'deez' jokes.
“He has so many, but there are a few I like,” Battle said. “He’s always talking about ‘touch deez’ or ‘suck on deez’ or all that.”
In the video below, you can hear the initial gasp of shock from the Alabama communications staff, followed by a hearty laugh.
Battle might have brought Saban's love of 'deez' jokes back into relevancy, but it's been a favorite of the 69-year-old head coach for quite some time.
In a pre-NFL draft interview with radio host Dan Patrick back in 2019, former Alabama running back Josh Jacobs detailed Saban's affinity for the joke
“What people don’t understand about him is he’s actually very funny,” Jacobs said. “He’s definitely a players’ coach. I remember one day at practice I was just catching a lot of balls — and you know he works with the defensive side so he’s always on the offensive players.”
“If I was catching a lot of passes that day, he would try to say something like, ‘Hey Josh, you keep catch all these passes, how about you hold deez?’ or something like that. Just something funny for a coach to try and translate and get to know to each player."
While it has been a favorite of Saban's for years, both players and coaches have now begun to comment thanks to Battle's reminder.
Former Alabama defensive back and current Baltimore Raven Marlon Humphrey took his turn in detailing Saban's humor on Wednesday, stating that his former coach likes to joke around while the cameras aren't running.
“Me and Nick Saban go way back,” Humphrey said. “Honestly, I just used to be talking and he’s so locked in I didn’t really know if he really listened to what I said. Shoutout to Jordan Battle. I wouldn’t have said that in the media but now that it’s out there – Saban is a good jokester and I’m just happy I left my mark with the guy.”
Former assistant coach and current Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin left his remark, simply retweeting a video with a facepalm emoji.
Following the interview with Jacobs back in 2019, Patrick also caught up with former Crimson Tide quarterback and current Miami Dolphin Tua Tagovailoa, who confirmed the humorous nature of Saban.
A few days later, Patrick caught up with Saban and asked him to explain himself.
“Well, I like to have fun with the players,” Saban said. “I think that it’s good that they see you every now and then in a little bit of a different light. Since I am a defensive coach, and I probably get on the defensive players a little bit more ferociously, it’s a little bit easier for me to be more lighthearted with the offensive players.”
Regardless, it seems that Saban hasn't lost his humorous edge despite being such a serious figure in college football for so many years.