This is an article from the Oct. 24, 2011 issue
The two-time national champion has his Crimson Tide ranked No. 2 in the first BCS poll of the season. Alabama faces No. 1 LSU on Nov. 5.
DAN PATRICK:Is there a place in Alabama you can go and not have to talk football?
NICK SABAN: I don't go anywhere during the season. But I don't think I could. There's a lot of interest and passion in this state. That's a good thing.
DP:Can you go to the movies?
NS: I go to the movies. But [my wife] Terry and I sneak in. She goes first, gets the popcorn and all that, and then I hit the ground running. The big thing wherever you go is that if you don't stop, people don't stop you. But if you stop, you're going to get talked to for a while.
DP:What if you wore an Auburn hat to the theater? No one would recognize you.
NS: No. But if somebody did, that would be bad.
DP:When's the last time an opponent kept you up at night?
NS: That happens a lot.
DP:But have you learned to enjoy your job more throughout your career?
NS: I enjoy the games. It's getting to the game that is difficult for me: What might [the opposing team] do? What aren't we prepared for? Have we gone through everything we need to with the players? That's the part that gets me. When the game comes, I'm fine.
DP:Offensive player from last season's team you miss the most: Julio Jones, Greg McElroy or Mark Ingram?
NS: They're all great players, but I think Julio Jones—only because we didn't have that kind of big, explosive receiver as a replacement. Trent [Richardson] is a really good player, so he kind of fits in and does what Mark did.
DP:At what point does the SEC say we have enough teams?
NS: We have good people to make those decisions, and they made the decision that Texas A&M would be good for the league. I'm worried about coaching our team. But if we add one team, we should probably add another so we get some kind of balance of seven-team divisions.
DP:Are you concerned about expanding too much and watering down the natural rivalries?
NS: At Alabama, people look forward to Florida, Georgia and Tennessee—even though they're in the other division. We keep our natural rivalries, and we continue to [schedule according to] people's expectations. The more you dilute the league, some of that has to diminish to some degree. I'm hopeful we can keep the integrity of what we've had.
DP:How do you rate your acting skills in The Blind Side, and what's your next film project?
NS: Not great. Not good at all. Nothing on the horizon for the future.
DP:Did you watch it with your wife?
NS: I watched it with the team. Sometimes we go to a movie when we have a night game. And they choose the movie. They chose that one before it was even out.
DP:Were they allowed to critique you?
NS: They killed me.
DP:Did you have to run extra laps for your performance?
NS: If the players were allowed to determine that, I'm sure I would have.
Fox analyst Daryl (Moose) Johnston said he wasn't surprised coaches Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers and Jim Schwartz of the Lions got into it after the final whistle on Sunday. "That was as emotional a game as I've been involved in," Johnston said. Moose suggested replacing coaches' handshakes with "a nod." ... I asked the Patriots' Wes Welker if he would have bet a week's pay that Tom Brady was going to lead them on the game-winning drive against the Cowboys. "Yeah, sure," Welker said. "I'm like the 40th-highest-paid receiver in the league."... NBA commissioner David Stern wasn't happy about going on a nationwide media tour last week to present the owners' view of the lockout. "It's ultimately a failure of some kind," he told me. "We all have to take blame for it."... Former Raider Howie Long hopes the team stays in Oakland, but he wants them to leave the last stadium in the NFL still also used for baseball: "There's something wrong with watching a game in 2011 on a baseball field. You're rushing the quarterback on the 20-yard line in grass, and suddenly you're on the 30 in hard dirt."