The Auburn football head coach who oversaw the "Camback" and the Tigers' 2010 BCS National Championship season, Gene Chizik, spoke highly of Nick Saban's legacy in the wake of his shocking retirement during an appearance on SiriusXM on January 13.
“On the field, you never saw a lot of jawing -- You never saw a lot of that come face-to-face at the middle of the field with guys talking crap before the game,” Chizik said (h/t Saturday Down South). “He always talked class, he always talked about the way to carry yourself. He always talked about the way the program was built.
“It was built on class and integrity, his players exuded that on the field. You never saw him pointing at guys and trying to start all the crap. That’s what resonates with me.”
As Chizik intimated, Saban set the vaunted "Alabama standard" during his 17-year coaching tenure in Tuscaloosa.
“The wins speak volumes for themselves,” Chizik prefaced before saying, "But I want you to think about, what was the last time you saw an Alabama team get on the field and just as a team they looked out of control? You never saw it, right? Win, lose, or draw you never saw it.
“When they spoke to the media after the game, they were always complimentary of the opponent. It could Jalen Hurts, Tua, or Will Anderson and I could go down the list. Those guys carried themselves well and that’s always a product of leadership at the top.”
Championship Auburn football ex-coach available after UNC firing
Chizik returning to the Plains is a possibility this offseason after Ron Roberts vacated the Tigers' defensive coordinator position and UNC parted ways with the 62-year-old earlier in the offseason. It's just a very remote one.
Hugh Freeze has already hired Charles Kelly as a co-defensive coordinator, and where he'll go for Kelly's counterpart isn't clear just yet. Internal promotions are possible, while the most exciting prospect would be entering the bidding war for Travaris Robinson Alabama and Georgia are waging.
As feel-good as a reunion Chizik would be for AU, it's not likely in the slightest at this point.