When Nick Saban needs to get away from football a little bit, he goes to his lake house in Georgia.
But that doesn’t stop mean football doesn’t follow him there to some degree.
In an “SportsCenter” segment that aired Sunday morning, ESPN’s Marty Smith and Tim Tebow pay the Alabama football coach a visit at his oft-mentioned house on Lake Burton to talk about the sport, as well as his life outside it.
Saban, who has owned the house for years and has many fond memories of it with his family over that stretch, said he uses the house as an escape from football, even if just briefly.
“I feel like I’m away from football when I’m here," Saban said. "What I’ve learned to do is, I don’t really get away from it completely like it doesn’t exist, I just know that maybe for a couple of hours, I can go back to it, but the rest of my time, my mind is completely clear of it.
“And the level of relaxation is so healthy for me, and I think if I didn’t do this, I don’t know if I could have coached for as long as I have and hopefully I’ll be able to coach a lot longer because of it.”
On the topic of finding a line between his coaching and family lives, Tebow asks Saban when he learned how to “compartmentalize” the two during his career.
While giving his answer, Saban seems to explain how and when his famed “Process” was born.
“The last couple years when I was at Michigan State, I sort of had a philosophical change in approach,” Saban said. “I was all about winning and there was a pressure on me, I felt like I had to win, I felt like I had to prove myself all the time. And sometimes I think I affected the team and made them feel that way.
“Where when I went to LSU, I just adopted the philosophy, ‘Hey, we’re going to play one play at a time like it has a history and life of its own. We’re going to try to dominate the competition.’ It was more fun for me, more fun for the players and we got a lot better results.”
Once out on the boat, which Saban was driving, Smith asked the coach the “greatest threat to excellence.”
“Complacency, being satisfied with where you are,” said Saban, who has helped Alabama win four of the past seven national championships. “Complacency creates a blatant disregard for doing what’s right. You can’t do what you feel like doing. You got to choose to do the things that are going to help you accomplish the goals you have. When you get complacent, you lose respect for winning.”
As a follow to that question, Saban explains how he developed that drive.
“When I was a kid growing up, my dad was a perfectionist,” Saban said. “He had high expectations for not just how we played football or baseball, but how we treated other people, what kind of compassion we had for other people, how we helped other people.
“When I washed a car and it had streaks in the side, he said wash it again. I kind of grew up that if you didn’t do it right, there were going to be consequences that you had to deal with. And it was much easier to try to do it the right way the first time.”
Saban was not asked any specific team-related questions during the segment, such as about the Crimson Tide’s ongoing quarterback competition.
The shooting of the interview appeared to take place sometime at the end of July or in the first few days of August, as it was mentioned in the interview that Saban would be returning to Tuscaloosa the following day to “starting digging in on camp.” Alabama began fall camp on Aug. 4.
At the end of the segment, Saban, Tebow and Smith all jumped into the lake together, which already had been shown in the teaser clip released Friday ahead of the full segment’s scheduled airing.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze also owns a home on Lake Burton. He said in July that Saban will show up at his lake house on his jet ski before playing golf together.
(You can follow Kevin Connell on Twitter @_KevinConnell)
© 2016, Kevin Connell. All rights reserved.
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