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Alabama coach Nick Saban was just 25 and coaching outside linebackers at Syracuse on August 16, 1977, when Elvis Presley died at age 42 in Memphis.
“I always wanted to see Elvis Presley,” Saban said on his weekly radio show Thursday night when asked what person he would most like to meet by media guest Lauren Sisler of ESPN. “I was young, all right, but I always wanted to see Elvis Presley. I always thought I’d eventually go see Elvis Presley. Well, that time never came.”
Saban was growing up in Fairmont, West Virginia, when Presley started to hit it big in the mid-1950s.
“Sometimes you don’t realize things until it’s too late,” Saban said, then grew philosophical. “And I think that, you know, you are a speck in time situated between the past and the future, so I think all of us should take advantage of the moment. We learn from things that happen in the past and hopefully help us have a better quality of life and be happier in the future.”
The next moment for Saban and his No. 1 defending national champion team (5-0, 2-0 SEC) will be at 7 p.m. Saturday when it plays at Texas A&M (3-2, 0-2), and he was obviously worried that his team may not be emotionally ready for the show.
The Aggies, unlike Alabama’s previous SEC opponents Florida and Ole Miss, are not ranked and not playing well leading into the Alabama game. A&M lost 26-22 at home to Mississippi State last week and fell, 20-10, to Arkansas the previous week.
A&M is No. 10 in the SEC and No. 85 nationally in pass offense with 208 yards a game behind struggling sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada, who replaced injured starter Haynes King in the second game of the season after King broke his leg.
The Aggies are No. 11 in the SEC and No. 83 nationally in total offense with 376 yards a game a game after finishing fourth in the SEC in that category last year with 439 yards a game as coach Jimbo Fisher went 9-1 in his third season. Alabama is a 17.5-point favorite by FanDuel.
“This is a dangerous team, and a little bit of a trap game for us in terms of we had an emotional game last week,” Saban said. “And now you’re playing a team that’s lost a couple of games that nobody thought they would. But people have to remember, they have a young quarterback because their quarterback got hurt.”
Calzada has been no Elvis, as he is 106th in the nation in passing efficiency at 109.4 for Fisher, a career offensive coach, on 69-of-128 passing for 744 yards and five touchdowns with four interceptions.
“But he’s getting better every week,” Saban said, trying to build up the opponent. “The rest of their team is as good as anybody in the rest of the country. But you have a team that’s lost two games, so that makes them a little probably humiliated and a little bit like a wounded animal. And what better would serve them than to beat us?”
Asked if the loss to State last week changed his team’s season goals, Fisher said, “It possibly does, but you don’t worry about it.”
Texas A&M does have a strong defense as it is No. 5 in the nation and second in the SEC in fewest points allowed with 12.6. But the Aggies have lost eight straight to Alabama and not played it within single digits since a 27-19 loss in 2017 – a year before Fisher’s arrival.
“You respect what they do, but I don’t think you’re in awe,” said Fisher, who is 0-4 against Saban, whom he coached under as LSU’s offensive coordinator from 2000-04. Fisher lost 24-7 to Alabama in 2017 as Florida State’s coach. Saban is 24-0 against former assistants who became head coaches.
“Our players play them all the time, and they see them. So I don’t see that (being in awe) as an issue,” Fisher said. “And it hasn’t been an issue. They’re human like you are, and they work hard and play well, and you can do the same things.”
Elvis image from RCA Records/Wikimedia Commons
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