First we learn that Alabama recently brought in the Pacific Institute to help players with mental conditioning/character development issues (i.e. brainwashing; more on that later). Now comes word that Jolly Old Saint Nick Saban pulled scrimmage highlights off Tide TV, a university-run premium site where subscribers pay $120 a year to get, among other things, scrimmage highlights.
Ian Rapoport reported that the roughly two-minute clip from Saturday's work at Bryant-Denny Stadium had been pulled from TideTV. "That's right," he wrote. "The in-house video service run by the athletic department was seriously edited." Then the Birmingham News reporter found out that it was Saban who ordered the highlights be pulled from the site.
"It's no big deal," Saban said. "I don't think that's something that we want to do. That's why we close practice — so that the other team can't see us. We got on the Internet to see if we could see any of Clemson's plays from their scrimmage and didn't see any. That's not what people usually do when you're getting ready to play a game, to advertise on TV or the Internet. I'm not pleased about it, but it's something that can be corrected and it won't happen again."
The public and media are barred from practices or scrimmages by Saban, unless of course it can somehow benefit the coach.
Saban's influence reaches far beyond Tuscaloosa. In April, Mobile Press-Register reporter Gentry Estes wrote a blog post that was critical of the coach's closing of practices. Two days later, the post was deleted by the newspaper with no explanation. Saban is suspected to have complained about the post.
As for the brainwashing exercises, the Pacific Institute was paid $39,000 to conduct the development classes. Here is one affirmation given to players regarding classwork: "I attend all classes with an open mind and with a positive attitude to learn. I'm excited to learn something new every day! My education is important to me. I'm committed to seizing the opportunities that have been given to me. I maintain a 3.5 GPA. I take the time to study, realizing that it is the reiteration that helps me to assimilate what it is I’m learning."
Offensive linemen: "I am an excellent pass blocker. My technique is perfect. I stay low creating a solid base while establishing balance. I sustain my blocks, providing my QB time to complete every pass. My drive blocking is outstanding. I create holes in the defense by driving my opponent off the line of scrimmage. I then use my body to wall off my opponent, preventing him from making the tackle."
Receivers: "I run my routes with precision. I blow by the defender, creating separation. I look the ball into my soft but strong hands, securing it and then I run to daylight. I catch every ball that’s thrown my way and I celebrate when my number is called because I am a big playmaker."
Defensive backs: "I frustrate receivers because I stick to them like glue. I remain calm and relaxed and seek all opportunities to make big plays. Because I am a student of the game of football, I recognize routes as they unfold and always position myself to defend and/or intercept the pass. I'm skilled, I'm fast and I am an aggressive force to be reckoned with. I am a fantastic open-field tackler. I play suffocating defense all the time!"
Defensive linemen: "I am a dominant defensive player. I control the line of scrimmage, making it difficult for the offense to advance the ball. I'm strong and tenacious. I can't be blocked. My pass rush is ferocious. I'm quick off the ball and blow by my opponent, sacking the QB. I am a bad man!"
You can view a video of one of the classes by clicking here.