Alabama’s Nick Saban can be all scowls and very intimidating when he’s asked questions at press conferences.
But after this week, maybe all reporters should carry around a baby when they ask Nick Saban a question. It turns the legendary Alabama coach into a warm and fuzzy human. After all, he does have two children and a couple of grandkids.
On Wednesday, Saban conducted his weekly press conference to preview the Crimson Tide home game against Tennessee. And because of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of these sorts of interviews still are done via Zoom. You can see everything, from babies to dogs and cats, at these pressers.
Aaron Suttles, the Alabama beat writer for The Athletic, was participating from home. But he also was doing some emergency babysitting.
Suttles asked a serious football question. He wanted to know about Alabama linebacker Henry To’o To’o, who, coincidentally, is a transfer from Tennessee.
It’s difficult to ask a serious question while holding a baby. Check out the video and stick around for what Suttles told Outsider about this heartwarming encounter with Nick Saban.
After Suttles asked about To’o To’o, Nick Saban immediately brought it back to Baby Suttles.
“Well, I have a question for you,” Saban said. “First of all, did I finally get to meet the boss?”
Suttles explained he was on “dad duty” because his wife hadn’t gotten home yet.
“This is best behavior I’ve seen you on since I’ve been here,” Nick Saban told Suttles. “If this is the way it’s going to be, I’d like for him to be there all the time.”
In less than a day, the video of the exchange now is approaching 900,000 views.
Baby Was ‘Perfectly Behaved’ in Nick Saban Meeting
Outsider reached out to Suttles to find out how he and the baby are doing.
“I was just praying little man would behave,” Suttles told Outsider. “For those who’ve never been on a Zoom, when you’re muted it’s not a problem. But when it’s your turn to speak or ask a question any crying or screaming would obviously be heard by Coach Saban and my fellow reporters.
“My main goal was to be as courteous to them as possible, so I was really hoping little man would allow me that 10-20 seconds to ask a question without him screaming. He was perfectly behaved and made his dad proud. I didn’t know if Saban would just answer the question or acknowledge that I had a baby in my arms. He was great with the way he handled it and I certainly appreciate his humor and grace.”
Getting back to Suttles original question, Nick Saban did answer it.
“Henry has done a really good job,” Saban told reporters. “He’s a good communicator, he’s smart — I think he helps everybody else play better up front in terms of his ability to communicate, have good understanding of the defense, what the offense is trying to do, what we’re trying to do on defense to stop it and I think that’s been very helpful to all of our players. Communication on defense is really important in adjustments, and that’s one of the things that I think Henry has really added to our group is his ability to communicate and help other people be confident in doing the right things.”