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Nick Saban still wary of ‘rat poison’ impacting his team

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

We may be just three games into the season, but this year’s Alabama team already looks like it has the potential to be the best of the Nick Saban era. The Tide have absolutely demolished every opponent they’ve faced this year, most recently an Ole Miss team that had given them problems in the past. You know what that means?

Beware of that rat poison.

After Alabama came away with a tough road win over Texas A&M last year, Saban was asked how he manages the high expectations constantly surrounding his team. He responded by ripping the media for feeding his players “rat poison.”

“I’m trying to get our players to listen to me instead of you guys,” the six-time national champion said. “All that stuff you write about how good we are? All that stuff they hear on ESPN? It’s like poison. Like rat poison.”

Well, Alabama is set to face Texas A&M again this weekend. And despite the Aggies being ranked No. 22 in the nation, Saban’s team was a 27-point favorite as of Wednesday. When asked earlier in the week about his infamous “rat poison” remarks, Saban made it clear his concerns have not changed.

“It’s like climbing a mountain,” he said, via John Zenor of the Tri-City Herald. “The higher you go, the more challenging it gets and the greater the focus needs to be and the more treacherous it can be.

Saban pointed out that Texas A&M is the best team Alabama has faced this season, and he said he hopes his players can remain focused coming off a 62-7 win.

“So I guess in a different way, trying to be really diplomatic, I’m sort of saying the same thing,” he added.

We all saw how much fun Lane Kiffin had with the whole rat poison thing, but it is not a joking matter for Saban. When college-aged players are constantly hearing how great they are, it’s easy for them to start believing it. Saban doesn’t want that to happen until they hoist the championship trophy.

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Tuesday, 11 December 2018