Nick Saban’s message to Kirby Smart in postgame handshake revealed
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart shake hands after the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide came up short in the national championship game against Georgia, but the Tide coach was classy in defeat.

Georgia came back from being down 9-6 at the half and down 18-13 in the fourth quarter to win 33-18 and finish the season 14-1.

Saban seemed genuinely happy for his former assistant, Kirby Smart, who was previously 0-4 against him.

Saban gave Smart a hug and appeared to tell him “good job” during their postgame handshake.

Then Saban gave Smart quite the hat tip, admitting, “you guys kicked our a– in the fourth quarter. Congrats,” he told Smart.

Saban continued to pay Smart compliments in his postgame interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe.

“I’m proud of Kirby,” Saban said. “I’m proud of the program he’s built. He’s done an outstanding job with his team. They’ve played great. They’ve probably been the most consistent team all year long.”

Saban also appeared to tell Smart that Alabama believes Jameson Williams suffered an ACL injury.

What’s so interesting is that Saban was previously undefeated against his former assistants. But this season, his Tide lost twice — both times to former assistants (Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M was the other). Saban is now 25-2 against his former assistants.

Would Saban have loved to win the game? Of course. But in the long run, losing to Georgia is not such a bad thing. Losses — especially in championship games — provide Saban the motivation to keep going and keep doing what he does best. His Crimson Tide will be back, and maybe they will be hungry for revenge.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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