With ESPN filming College GameDay segment, a winking Nick Saban was in rare form

Thursday, 12 October 2017, 04:21:07 PM. It wasn't the normal Nick Saban presser.

The whole rat poison thing isn't dead yet.

A full ESPN camera crew and even Tom Rinaldi himself attended the Nick Saban's regular Wednesday news conference. They're in town for a segment on the occasionally entertaining exchanges between Saban and the press. Last week's rat poison rant certainly pushed this story over the goal line.

What they got Wednesday was, however, not the typical midweek update. Saban hit for the cycle from the podium, going from worked-up to warm. He touched on society and took a little shot at Rhode Island.

Saban even winked at a media relations worker. It was just different with the added dynamic in the room.

The Q&A portion got off to a relatively normal start with Saban touching on the differences between Arkansas' two quarterbacks.

Things took a turn when he had trouble understanding the word "persona" in the second question.

"I guess I have to back up," Saban said. "I mean, I'm from West Virginia, so what exactly does persona mean? Is that the same thing as per-sauna?"

And then he winked.

A moment earlier, a question about sixth-string running back Ronnie Clark kicked off a long response that hit a few talking points. Saban said Clark is an example of someone who isn't part of the self-gratification generation who wants everything now.

"There's a lot of stuff going on in this country right now about respect, somebody doesn't respect me, I don't respect them," Saban said. "But there's no one that has any more self-respect, which I think is the most important thing, which I think means 'My character, my standard, how I do it, it's not about how somebody else does something,' than Ronnie Clark."

http://www.al.com/alabamafootball/index.ssf/2017/10/do_alabama_players_even_consum.html

Later, Saban gave a lengthy answer to a question about offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's personnel matching. The response ran the full range of assessing the effectiveness of the full group, certain players and in specific situations. It's better heard (above) than read.

And toward the end, Saban was asked about the perception of college football being divided into the haves and have nots. That's where the 1-4 Rhode Island football program took some shrapnel.

"I think it's always been that way. When they play games, you know up when Rhode Island play whoever they play they have a picnic after the game. That doesn't happen around here. We have 100,000 people, we have the SEC Championship Game, we trying to get into the playoff. But we all have the same rules."

Though not the exact intent of the question, Saban went into the thoughts he's given in the past about the upper-tier teams and how things should be different.

"We won't change the schedule and play better teams because everybody has to win six games and go to a bowl game," Saban said. "So why can't we do like the basketball tournament, just rank the teams and pick the best teams to go to the bowl games and then strength of schedule would mean something. Then we could play 10 teams in the SEC and two other BCS, Power 5 teams and fans would have great games to go to."

For the regulars, it didn't feel like the typical Wednesday in the interview room.

Tune into ESPN on Saturday morning to see the full segment on Saban vs. the media. 

Michael Casagrande is an Alabama beat writer for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande.

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