Mutual respect between Saban, Brown, but different personalities

Mack Brown (l) and Nick Saban pose for photographs during a news conference Wednesday morning (WBRC photo)
Mack Brown (l) and Nick Saban pose for photographs during a news conference Wednesday morning (WBRC photo)

By Dennis Washington

PASADENA, CA (WBRC) - When Nick Saban and Mack Brown talk about each other, it is clear how they feel.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for all that Mack has done in his career as a coach," Nick Saban said Wednesday morning. Each place that he's been he has had a tremendous amount of success with a lot of consistency, and I think that he's very well-organized, runs a good program, is an outstanding recruiter and surrounds himself with very good people."

Mack Brown feels the same about Saban.

"I really admire what Nick has done," Brown said Wednesday morning. "If you look at what he has done, he's coached at every level. He's been an assistant coach, a coordinator, a head coach at three different schools now and done very well in all of those. He's a successful professional assistant and head coach. So he gets it. He's driven. He works very hard. His teams are very disciplined. They're well-coached, and he wins at everything he touches."

The two coaches spoke to reporters, exchanged gifts and posed for photographs Wednesday morning during a news conference. Their undefeated teams are scheduled to play for the BCS National Championship on Thursday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Brown said it's a challenge preparing for the game.

"It's really a unique experience to try to get a team ready for a one-game season that means this much for three and a half hours," Brown said. "What we will do is have a blend of some fun tomorrow with them before the game, and again, give them the last-minute adjustments that we feel like they need to focus on to win the game."

Saban said he's tried to keep the players in as much of a normal routine as possible.

"You go through the routine you always go through, which is what we're trying to accomplish with our players in terms of how we practiced yesterday, how we'll walk through today, the things that we'll do leading up to the game, make them as same and simple as we can, because the focus right now is on getting the best execution in the game."

Both coaches are 58 years old and have similar coaching strategies, but when it comes to public personality, they are different. Saban has a reputation for sometimes being short with the media, while Brown is known for loving to talk to anyone.

"It's really funny," said Brown. "I've been asked all week if I'm really nice."

Brown said, though, that while Saban may have a sour reputation with the media, he is very nice in person.

"Nick is really nice to me," Brown said. "He is very respectful to me. I enjoy being around him. I know maybe not to you all, but we have two coaches on our staff who have worked for him, and I have great respect for what they say about him."

Brown said there is probably a lot more similarities between the two of them than there are differences.

"The way we run or programs, our practices, the toughness," said Brown. "These kids are tough. They compete. Alabama's kids are tough. They're going to compete. You're not going to get a bad team in this game. You may get one in the BCS, you're not going to get one in this game. There's two good teams in this game."

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