Alabama football coach Nick Saban prides himself on meticulous detail in his daily life, and in particular when he is preparing his team for a game.
So when he was asked Wednesday night about the “Horns Down” gesture by opponents of the Texas Longhorns and how it’s a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Saban was visibly taken aback.
“What’s that?” Saban said, tilting his head to his right in total confusion.
“The ‘Horns Down’ hand gesture could be a 15-yard penalty,” the reporter answered.
“I have not addressed with the team, but I appreciate you letting me know that,” Saban said. “So, you know, we’ve got a lot of other things we really need to worry about, but I think that’s a good thing for me to go over with the team. So, I appreciate that.”
Nick Saban Knows Horns Down Now
The Big 12 began to crack down on the “Horns Down” gesture two years ago and was moving toward that previously. The gesture is the “Hook ‘Em Horns” gesture inverted. Instead of the two outside fingers pointing up as if to form the top of a Longhorn’s head, the two outside fingers are pointed down in the gesture against Big 12 rules.
Alabama is playing Texas for the first time since Jan. 7, 2010, when it beat the Longhorns, 37-21, in the Rose Bowl for the national championship. That was Saban’s first title at Alabama.
One would think Saban would know a little more about Texas traditions, though. He reportedly did briefly consider leaving Alabama for Texas after the 2012 season. Mack Brown left after the next season.
Former Saban assistant Steve Sarkisian is in his second season as Texas’ head coach.
No. 1 Alabama (1-0) and Texas (1-0) kick off at noon eastern time Saturday on FOX.