Nick Saban: Media praise is 'like rat poison' for his team

Alabama coach Nick Saban, left, shakes hands with Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin after an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, in College Station, Texas. Alabama won 27-19. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

After beating Vanderbilt and Ole Miss by a combined score of 125-3, Alabama found itself in a close one in College Station on Saturday night.

The Tide beat Texas A&M 27-19 at Kyle Field, but Nick Saban wasn’t really happy about the way it turned out, especially since his team led 24-3 late in the third quarter.

After the game, Saban was complimentary of the Aggies but had some, uh, words for the media.

In the video above, Saban was asked about his team going three-and-out on three of its first four drives. He first gave credit to A&M for playing well before giving it to the media, which has heaped plenty of praise on the top-ranked Crimson Tide this year.

Saban thinks the glowing media coverage of his team led to some complacency. He hates complacency.

“I’m trying to get our players to listen to me instead of listening to you guys,” Saban said. “All that stuff you write about how good we are. All that stuff they hear on ESPN. It’s like poison.

“It’s like taking poison. Like rat poison.”

The way the Tide finished out the game — Alabama appeared on its way to another blowout — should help Saban’s players hear his message loud and clear as they continue through SEC play. Arkansas comes to Tuscaloosa next Saturday.

“I’m asking them are you going to listen to me or are you going to listen to (reporters) about how good you are? Just like your question right now, we get stopped three out of four times like that’s a bad thing,” Saban said.

The Tide led 24-3 deep into the third quarter, but the Aggies made things mighty interesting in the fourth. Kellen Mond found Christian Kirk for a touchdown with 1:39 left in the third to cut the lead to 24-10. On its next drive, A&M moved inside the Bama 10, but Mond was intercepted by Minkah Fitzpatrick at the goal line. Soon after, Alabama punted from its own end zone and the Aggies blocked it for a safety, making it 24-12.

Alabama forced a punt and tacked on a field goal from there before the Aggies scored again in the final minute when it was too late. So the game wasn’t quite as close as the final score — 27-19 — would indicate. Still, Saban was going to make his point.

“We’re not going to beat everybody 66-3.”