Nick Saban saw something he didn’t like during Alabama’s 56-14 rout of Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
Empty seats in the student section. A lot of them.
The listed attendance at kickoff was 101,471. But this reportedly was the scene at Bryant-Denny Stadium around that time:
Saban brought up the topic while addressing the media Wednesday evening and suggested that maybe those seats shouldn’t be exclusively for students anymore.
“I can honestly say I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more students at the last game,” he said. “I think we’re trying to address that. I don’t think [the students are] entitled to anything, either. Me personally, I think it ought to be first-come, first-serve. If they don’t want to come to the game, they don’t have to come. But I’m sure there’s enough people around here who’d like to go to the games, and we’d like for them to come too because they support the players.”
Saban during mini-rant on poor student attendance vs. ULL: “I can honestly say I was a little disappointed there weren’t more students at the last game. ... I don’t think they’re entitled to anything either. Me personally, I think (seats) ought to be first-come, first-serve.” pic.twitter.com/JZOgnMKkwp— Alex Byington (@_AlexByington) October 3, 2018
Saban had more to say about that supporting-the-players part, indicating that Alabama students aren’t pulling their weight anymore.
“When I first came here, you used to play that tradition thing up there [on the video board] and everybody was cheering and excited and happy and there was great spirit,” Saban said. “Now they don’t even cheer. They introduce our players and nobody even cheers.”
The Crimson Tide are 5-0 this year in defense of their fifth national title in the last 10 seasons. They’ve set a school record by scoring at least 45 points and accumulating 500 or more yards in five straight games.
He continued: “Look, our players work too hard and they deserve to have everything and people supporting them in every way and have tremendous spirit for what they’ve done.… But there’s a part of it where other people need to support them too, and there’s got to be a spirit that makes it special to play here, because that’s what makes it special to be here. And if that’s not here, then does it continue to be special to be here or not? That’s the question everybody has to ask, and I’m asking it right now.”
The Crimson Tide plays Arkansas on Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark. That’s about 550 miles from Tuscaloosa, Ala. Maybe some of the absentee fans from last week can make it up to the team with a road trip this week?
“We’ve always had great people travel on the road for us and had great spirit on the road,” Saban said. “We have great fans. So I appreciate that.”