Sky Sports UK is kind of like ESPN for Great Britain, advertising themselves as “UK’s leading sports channel.”
Tuesday, Sky Sports branched out and sent a camera crew to Tuscaloosa to film a story about an American football homecoming game. Alabama is hosting Mississippi State for homecoming Saturday.
So, of course, they decided to speak to that well-known expert on American homecoming: Alabama football coach Nick Saban.
The Sky Sports reporter asked Saban two questions at this evening’s news conference. For the record, if any of us beat writers asked these questions, we would get the famous Saban “death glare” and an eruption would follow. But for the sake of international relations, Saban was gentle in his responses.
Sky Sports guy: “I’m from the U.K. How important is the game on homecoming weekend to the university and town?”
Saban: “Well, I think that homecoming is a very traditional concept that gives everyone an opportunity to come back and sort of have the opportunity to remember some of the great times that they had here, to sort of reincarnate their sort of passion and tradition for the university. The memories that they have. The good times that they had. The pride that they have in the institution.
“And it’s an opportunity to come back and sort of re-acquaint yourself with a lot of people and some of those feelings. We have a tremendous amount of respect for that and everyone’s opportunity to do that. We also realize that it’s only going to be a happy homecoming if we have success on the field. So, it’s still always coming back to that. So our focus is always on what do we need to do to get our team to play the best. We’re working hard at trying to do that so we can get them ready to go against a very good team.”
Sky Sports guy: “How good is this Crimson Tide side?”
Saban: “Our team? … Well, I don’t really like to compare them to anything. I think that there’s still a lot of football left to play. I think the full body of work that you do determines sort of what your legacy is as a team. We have some really tough games coming up starting this weekend. If we can get through that gauntlet, then I think this team will have proven one way or the other what their legacy should be as a team.
“They’ve put themselves in a position to … The race may be 200 meters. We’re probably at about the 140. It’d be nice if it was only a 140-meter race, but it’s not. So we’ve got everybody running on our heels, so you’ve got to finish and you’ve got to finish the right way and finish strong. And you’ve got to have the mental toughness and conviction, perseverance, resiliency, to continue to do things at a high standard to be able to accomplish those things against very good teams.”
We’re uncertain how much of that Sky Sports viewers will understand, but give Saban credit for using metric distances instead of yards.