Count Paul Finebaum among those who believe Alabama should suspend defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand.
Appearing on SportsCenter on ESPN Sunday morning, Finebaum made a passionate plea for Nick Saban to suspend Hand following his DUI arrest on Saturday. But Finebaum also brought up that Saban hasn’t been tough on discipline in the past, even calling the Alabama coach, “soft on discipline.”
“This is Nick Saban to me at his weakest link. I think he’s been soft on discipline,” Saban said. “I’m sure he would disagree and he has, live on national television. But this is a very serious allegation. Driving under the influence … come on. We all know the dangers of that. I’m not going to stand here on some pedestal, but this close to training camp, to the beginning of the season, I think this ought to be an automatic one-game suspension at the minimum.
“Instead, we’ll listen to Nick Saban nuance his words and work on internal issues and let the player help set the template. I don’t buy any of that,” Finebaum added. “I think he should be gone for at least the Florida State game, and that’s only the biggest game of the season for Alabama.”
The dust-up Finebaum referenced happened last year at SEC Media Days, when Finebaum questioned how Saban handled the arrests of Cam Robinson and Hootie Jones. The two got into a heated argument off the set.
Hand is expected to be a major piece of the Alabama defense, given the departures the Crimson Tide face on that side of the ball.
Alabama and Florida State both figure to be ranked in the top 5 when the season starts, and potentially could be ranked as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. They meet Sept. 2 in Atlanta in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
This will be the first time Saban faces off against Jimbo Fisher. The Florida State coach worked under Saban during their time at LSU. Fisher and Saban are two of the four active coaches who have won national championships. Urban Meyer and Dabo Swinney are the others.