TUSCALOOSA , Ala. – There was a moment Monday – almost indiscernible – when Nick Saban rubbed his fingers together similar to the “cash money” gesture made famous by a certain Texas A&M quarterback.
“If you take care of the cents,” Alabama’s coach said as A&M week dawned on the world, “the dollars can add up.”
A good analogy, perhaps, for the Tide’s disciplined march toward a possible third consecutive national championship. Not the best choice of words considering the polarizing gesture is Johnny Manziel’s and how it can be interpreted. Unless you’ve lived under rock for the past year here at the capstone it’s hard to explain to those … who have lived under a rock.
“What’s he [Manziel] done wrong?” Bama receiver Amari Cooper asked, stone-faced.
Either these Alabama players have been been coached up to clam up or they’re really that isolated in Saban’s system here in the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility. Maybe a little bit of both.
The building serves as college football’s ultimate production line. Excellence in, excellence out. Meanwhile, the outside world can go stand over there in a corner somewhere. This is where players are recruited, molded, strengthened and refined. Don’t bother them with storylines going into the biggest game of the season — No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Texas A&M.
So when Cooper is filled in on Manziel being investigated by the NCAA and getting booted from the Manning Passing Academy – just to name two of his offseason headlines – the receiver really is clueless.
“I heard it but I really didn’t get in-depth with it,” Cooper said.
Neither, apparently, have the rest of the Tide. At least that’s the scripted word out of the Moore building. It’s about what they do this week. And what they do is impressive, starting with Saban who is 15-2 in so-called “revenge games” since coming to the SEC.
You may have noticed his paybacks are a witch.
“To me it’s just not a revenge thing,” Cooper said. “If we wanted to get revenge, we’d have to play that same team last year with the same team we had last year. If you lose a fight to someone, you don’t get revenge by fighting someone else.”
Nice try, Amari. This A&M game is all about making up for that hiccup that disrupted the Crimson Tide continuum. In fact, it is something bigger. The Manziel brand took off that day. He was trending most days in the offseason. It’s possible that, this week, good guys wear Crimson. No matter what your opinion of Alabama, the world view on Saturday just may be it is an upright citizen’s brigade coming in to spank a petulant child.
OK, so cheesier metaphors have seldom been used. Still, you can’t spell avengement without A&M.
The Aggies had the temerity to walk into Bryant-Denny Stadium last November and shock the Tide 29-24. The game served as a…