You might have heard Alabama head coach Nick Saban has a somewhat tenuous relationship with reporters, but he was grateful for at least one of them on Wednesday.
During a news conference ahead of Alabama's road game against Texas, a reporter asked Saban how he addressed the possibility of a "Horns Down" penalty against the Longhorns. Big 12 commissioner Greg Burks had confirmed the hand gesture mocking Texas' own signature gesture would continue to be a taunting penalty earlier in the offseason.
Saban initially responded with confusion, before expressing his appreciation for the heads-up.
Nick Saban was not aware of the “Horns down” gesture being a penalty.
The media may have just saved Alabama 15-yards. pic.twitter.com/1Aj4i0wKy7
— Pat Dowd (@Pat_Dowd77) September 7, 2022
The full exchange:
Reporter: The Big 12 clarified this offseason that the "Horns Down" hand gesture would be a penalty. How do you address that with the team going into this game?
Saban: What's that?
Reporter: The "Howns Down" hand gesture, to be a 15-yard penalty.
Saban: I have not addressed it with the team, but I appreciate you letting me know that. We got a lot of other things we need to really worry about, but I think that's a good thing for me to go over with the team, so I appreciate that.
While the "Horns Down" taunting rule is a Big 12 policy rather than an NCAA policy, the Alabama-Texas game will be officiated by a Big 12 crew according to the Austin American-Statesman, so it seems quite possible the penalty could be called.
Give credit to Saban for being blissfully unaware of one of the dumber rules controversies in college football, in which Texas has successfully lobbied a conference it is now leaving into making one of the most harmless mockeries imaginable a 15-yard penalty. Who knows if a Crimson Tide player was hoping to get the taunt in during the game, but Saban will probably be putting a stop to that now.