We are one week into Spring camp for the Alabama Crimson Tide and they’re already having to deal with distractions. The early big news was news of the arrest of freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell. According to police reports, Mitchell, along with another individual, was cited for avoiding police driving at 141 MPH. When arrested, police say they recovered 226 grams of marijuana and more than $7,000 in cash from the vehicle. Mitchell was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell last week. Mitchell’s football career might be over just before it starts. Still, the story is about how head coach Nick Saban handled the situation with Mitchell with more focus and action than the Tide’s head basketball coach Nate Oats and he handled the controversy involving star player Brandon Miller.
On Monday, Saban talked about the issue involving Mitchell, “Everybody has the opportunity to make choices and decisions. There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.” While this isn’t in direct correlation with Oat’s talk about Miller being in the wrong place at the wrong time involving the death of a 23-year-old woman, it certainly can’t be overlooked. Oats, in his first statement after a warrant was issued for Miller claimed his player was at the wrong place at the wrong time after potentially giving freshman guard Darius Miles the potential murder weapon. Miller remains a cooperative witness to the ongoing case and currently faces no charges. But Oat’s quote originally came across as tone-deaf, while Saban immediately takes action with Mitchell being suspended until further notice.
Nick Saban Takes A Different Approach From Nate Oats
How Saban and Oats Responded To The Situation
It’s important to acknowledge the differences involving the controversies around Mitchell and Miller. It is unknown if Miller’s purpose was to provide Miles with the gun and had the potential to know the outcome. Miller remains a witness while Mitchell has actually been criminally charged. Regardless, there has been a clear lack of remorse from Miller and the Tide as they continue their journey in the 2023 NCAA Championship Tournament. Miller can’t share the details of the situation with the public and indicate why it might have unfolded. Oats, however, has done a poor job of trying to defuse the negativity around the team. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time, as Oats described it, is a poor attempt to shift the potential burden and blame from Miller.
With Mitchell, Saban put the blame solely on the actions of the young player. Saban has disciplined many of his players in his previous 16 seasons, but his disciplinary actions are now being compared to other sports leaders at the university. Saban’s swift action and keeping focus on the actions of Mitchell come into a new perspective. Saban acts as brutal but honest while Oats depicts as lax and subjective.
Did Saban Throw A Shot At Oats?
As leaders of two of some of the biggest sports at the University of Alabama, Saban and Oats often collaborate. There is no reason to believe that either coach is resentful of each other. Saban’s quote, however, of calling “Being at the wrong place at the wrong time,” a red herring is something that could be a call out to Oats and his handling of the controversy around Miller. Even if Saban isn’t calling out Oats, this is a public relations nightmare with the university and the athletics department. Time will tell what will happen with the investigation of Miles and how involved Miller was. For Saban, he is not wasting time by having distractions circle the team throughout a big spring. The Tide’s football team is avoiding problems, especially for a player who hasn’t put on pads yet at Alabama.
Photo courtesy: Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY NETWORK