Nick Saban Now Down With ‘Horns Down’ Gesture Ahead Of Alabama-Texas Game

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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.

Oklahoma State’s Ian Marshall shows off a ‘Horns Down’ last October. (Getty Images)

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.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.


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  1. As a Longhorns fan, I could care less about the Horns Down thing. It is actually a badge of honor that others do it. This was the Big 12, not UT trying to prevent fights. Screw that. If the Horns want to stop it, then start beating people. This team grew soft late in Mack’s time and hasn’t stepped up since. I am hopeful we are on right path.

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