The weekly Wednesday news conference Nick Saban news conference went a few different directions.
At one point he gave a fully detailed recap of Michigan State-Purdue showdowns of the late 1990s when asked about late Boilermaker coach Joe Tiller. There was plenty Alabama football in the middle, but things started with a different kind of story.
Saban was asked about any plans involving Alabama players from the Houston area who’ll be relatively close to home played Saturday at Texas A&M. A few were affected by Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that followed.
It wasn’t something Saban had considered previously on account of how regimented these road trips can be. There isn’t much free time built into the plan.
“Maybe that’s a mistake on our part but I haven’t really thought about it,” Saban said. “We sort of go on these trips like it’s a business trip and that’s what we should be focused on.”
Then he took the message down a different path, one that lead to West Virginia.
“It’s kind of like my dad used to tell me when I used to go to work at the station, my girlfriend broke up with so I was treating the customers bad,” Saban said. “He said ‘What’s wrong with you today?’ I said ‘My girlfriend broke up with me.’ He said ‘Well, you’ve got one problem, but if you keep treating the customers bad you’re going to have two more. I’m going to fire you and then I’m going to whip your ass for getting fired.
“So, you’re not going to have a girlfriend, you’re not going to have a job and you’re going to get your tail whipped.'”
This is a story he’s told before, so how does it relate to football players whose family and/or friends are recovering from a damaging storm?
“Whatever happened in the hurricane happened and it’s a bad thing and we want to support everybody in every way we can,” Saban said. “We certainly did that as much as we could.
“But if we don’t go out there and play a good game, then we’re going to have all the problems that we had with the hurricane and we’re going to have the problem that we lost. So, it kind of goes back to what my dad said, I think.”
Alabama athletics collected donations and sent an 18-wheel truck to Texas to assist those affected by the late-August storm.
Saban previously said the football program was able to help fly the father of defensive back Tony Brown to Tuscaloosa after flood waters approached their Beaumont, Texas home.
Michael Casagrande is an Alabama beat writer for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande.