It didn’t take long for Alabama’s offseason arrests to come up during Nick Saban’s trip ESPN for the annual coaches “car wash.”
During a sitdown on SportsCenter with anchor Sara Walsh Tuesday morning, Saban was asked how he came to the decision to suspend Alphonse Taylor indefinitely after the offensive lineman was arrested on Sunday for driving under the influence.
“I think that everyone of these circumstances and situations is a little bit different,” Saban said. “But I think when you have a DUI, what makes it significantly different is you have put other people in danger by the choice you made and the decision that you made. That, to me, is a little more serious in terms of what we need to do.
“I would like to look at what we’re doing with Alphonse Taylor not as a punishment, but as a treatment of what we need to do to help him be a better player, be a better person and to make better choices and decisions in the future, and I think that’ll help him the most.”
From there, the question of how Alabama plans to replace Taylor on the field came up. Taylor, a rising senior, started all 15 games at right guard during Alabama’s national championship run last season. But during the spring, he was demoted to the second-team offensive line in favor of redshirt freshman Brandon Kennedy as Saban challenged him to lose weight.
“I think we have better depth on the offensive line than we’ve had in several years now,” Saban said. “We have some capable players. They’ll all get an opportunity to compete, and we’ll just have to see what happens.”
With Saban coming out and publicly suspending Taylor, many have wondered why the coach didn’t do the same with Cam Robinson and Hootie Jones. Robinson and Jones were both arrested in Louisiana, but will not be prosecuted due to a lack of evidence.
Saban decided to handled Robinson and Jones discipline internally.
“I think those circumstances are completely different, and I think the statement that I made about when you choose to do this (in reference to DUI) and you put other people at risk, that makes it in a different category for me,” Saban said. “That’s why this situation is being treated differently, but we treat every situation differently with the players based on their history, what they’ve done and the facts.
“I would hope that people think that as coaches, we don’t make these decisions based on winning games, which I think we sometimes get criticized for. We make these decisions based on what’s best for the players and their futures and what we need to do to help them so they have a chance to be successful in life.”