Alabama Beat Reporter Denies Nick Saban Was Taking Shot at Nate Oats

Nick Saban wasn’t taking a shot at Alabama head coach Nate Oats in his comments on March 21, surrounding Tony Mitchell’s suspension after drug charges in his home state of Florida, when the football coach pushed back at the idea someone can be “at the wrong place at the wrong time” — which was something Oats said on February 21 to defend Brandon Miller after evidence came out the Alabama forward was present at the crime scene of the death of a 23-year-old woman.

This at least according to On3’s Alabama beat reporter Clint Lamb.

Lamb believes Saban only takes public shots at others when there’s a purpose, referencing his shots at Jimbo Fisher in May 2022 regarding Texas A&M buying recruits as a circumstance Saban was being intentional.

“When Nick Saban put himself in the crossfire over the Jimbo Fisher comments, there was purpose behind it,” Lamb said. “His criticisms often do. If his comments today were, in fact, intentional, what purpose did it serve? It’d only create public division within the athletics department.”

Lamb doesn’t see why Saban would say something that’d be detrimental to his own image. “Publicly criticizing the basketball coach/program creates a major story. This hurts Alabama, which includes Nick Saban. Why would he do it? How does it help him? I’m not buying that narrative at all.”

Nick Saban and Nate Oats’ Comments

Saban said that there was “no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time” at a March 20 press conference. That was similar phrasing to what Oats said a month ago, but in the inverse, making many connect the dots between both comments.

“We knew about [Miller’s involvement],” Oats said during a February 21 press conference. “Can’t control everything anybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at the wrong time.”

Oats later released a statement to clarify that his remarks weren’t intended to downplay the situation in any way.

“In no way did I intend to downplay the seriousness of this situation or the tragedy of that night,” Oats said. “My prayers continue to go out to Jamea Harris’s family.”

Nick Saban’s Comments Looked ‘Bad on the Surface’

Lamb did concede that Saban using the same phrasing as Oats when preaching the opposite message looked bad on the surface. Still, he feels that it didn’t take much critical thinking to understand that he wouldn’t say such a thing on purpose.

“It looked bad on the surface,” Lamb said in a reply tweet to someone who correctly claimed that talking heads like Paul Finebaum, Clay Travis, and shock jocks would pick up on Saban’s comments.

Still, Lamb says 10 seconds of analysis could help one reach the conclusion that Saban would never do such a thing.

“I can’t blame anyone for initially being like “whoa.” But if you analyze it for all of about 10 seconds, it’s pretty apparent it was a coincidence.”

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