Nick Saban's session has come and gone. For those who didn't see it, ESPNU actually used a countdown clock to tell their viewers when Alabama's coach would speak. Next year they'll drop a ball from Birmingham's Wells Fargo Tower.
Here were the biggies from Saban's gab fest:
* Mon-o-tone. For a guy that gets pretty animated on a football field, Saban show very little emotion at a press conference, as everyone knows. His opening statement today went on and on and on. His lengthy discussion of the the culture of today's youth, discipline, how you handle discipine, etc, felt like a few HR seminars I've had to sit through as a manager.
* Saban said: "There's never been a player that I've kicked off a team that amounted to anything or accomplished anything playing or academically. That's not always the answer... Discipline is not punishment. Punishment is only effective when it can help change someone's behavior... We're here to help these kids." You don't think that had anything to do with Kenyan Drake's most recent suspension, do you?
* Saban also said that the maturity gap between the older players on a team and the younger players on a team continues to widen. Interesting.
* Alabama's coach pointed out that there won't be any complacency on his team after the Tide's two final games last season (losses to Auburn and Oklahoma). "We have to re-establish our identity." Saban said his players, coaches and everyone else in the program has to check their egos at the door.
* Saban was positively glowing in his comments regarding new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. "He's done very well for us. Players have responded to him really, really well. New energy, new enthusiasm, new ideas to do some thing offensively that probably will enhance our chances of being successful." Saban also said Kiffin has handled the transition from head coach back to assistant coach well, noting that he had also done that at one point in his career.
* Speaking about young quarterbacks, Saban said the three most important components of that job are "decision-making, accuracy with the ball, and leadership." How quickly a young player can develop in all three of those areas is the question.
* Saban said that he's hopeful the lessons learned from the BCS years -- meaning: SEC strength and might -- will be taken into consideration in the new playoff system. He warned, however, that complaints about a third team being jilted will now simply become complaints about a fifth team being jilted. He also said that as the season continues to grow, we're nearing a "saturation point" in terms of how many games a player can play and still be a student and still have a life away from football. Pointing out that an SEC team can now play a maximum of 15 games, Saban said: "We have to take the student-athlete's well-being into account if we continue to add games." Far from a ringing endorsement of the new playoff system.
* The Tide coach was asked about players leaving school early. He had some strong feelings on that issue. First, Alabama tries to give its players "good advice so they can make a good business decision." Second, many players still don't make good business decisions. Many players who leave early and are taken in the fifth, sixth or seventh round of the NFL draft have little financial "protection." Top draft picks make more money so teams are more willing to hang onto them and coax a reward from their investment. Late-round guys don't get that benefit. And if they don't make a team, there's no more college football to play. Instead of being able to improve their stock with another year of college, they're effectively done. It was clear Saban would like to see fewer players make the jump.
* Saban: "Leadership is your ability to impact someone else for their benefit. When you impact someone for your benefit that's manipulation. And I think people can see through that."
* Saban was asked about the SEC's decision to stick with an eight-game league schedule. His reply: "I'd be all for playing all our games against those (Power Five) guys. It's what the fans want. We need to be more concerned about the people who support the programs." He then went on to say that he doesn't believe six wins should be required to go bowling. After pointing out that the new selection committee will fill the top six bowl games, Saban said he'd like to see them fill out all the bowls. "If you go 5-7 and have some quality wins you still get in a bowl game" which is better than "people manipulating their schedule so they can get to six wins." He then added: "I know everybody thinks I'm crazy. But I think every kid who comes to the SEC should play every SEC team (during his career)... I'm the only coach that's interested in doing that."
* Someone asked Saban about his new granddaughter and actually -- after a bit -- coaxed a smile from him. Saban said that he's only made one mistake as a grandfather so far. When the child was crying, Saban said "She'll be fine. Just her cry." Then, drawing chuckles from the media, he said, "That was a mistake... that was a huge mistake."
* Asked if Texas had ever offered him its job -- or up to $100 million to take it -- Saban responded quickly. "I didn't have any conversations with them. Nobody offered me anything. And I guess if I didn't have any conversation with them I didn't have very much interest." But before Longhorn fans could explode on Twitter, Saban added that Texas has a great program. He said at "this station" in his life he and his wife are ready to put a halt to moving. In fact, he said that if he had things to do over again, he'd have picked a place that he could build up and just tried to stay there. This isn't surprising. If Saban had a do-over he'd have never left LSU and Baton Rouge for the lure of the NFL. Everyone should know that by now.
* Saban finished up his session with his annual scolding of the media. He called attention to the fact that the journalists (and fans) in Hoover have only picked the SEC race correctly four times in 20-plus years. "Just wanted you to know... we're evaluating you." Big laughs.