“The Cinderella story is over, man. Right? They’re fighting for clicks. We’re fighting for wins. There’s a difference, right? There’s a difference. This game isn’t going to be played in Hollywood. It’s going to be played on the grass,” Lanning told his team in footage captured before the nationally televised rout.
It was an audacious approach: steering all the way into the then-unbeaten Buffaloes’ wholesale media blitz, results be damned. But it worked, and drew both praise and criticism throughout college football.
On Thursday, Alabama coach Nick Saban surprisingly put his name into the latter camp.
“I understand what Dan was trying to say. It was probably good for his team to hear in some ways," Saban told ESPN analyst and former West Virginia kicker Pat McAfee on his eponymous show. “But it probably wasn't good for everybody else to hear. That’s always the argument.”
Nick Saban weighed in on Dan Lanning's pregame speech before Colorado-Oregon 👀 @PatMcAfeeShow— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 28, 2023
"I think you can use the media to send a message to your team. I don't think you need to do that right before the game." pic.twitter.com/gJluJ6cPd8
Saban questioned whether Lanning’s (paradoxically) TV-friendly comments should have ultimately left the locker room.
“I think you can use the media to send a message to your team. I don’t think you need to do that right before the game,” Saban said, chuckling as he finished his thought. “That’s something you do on Monday, when you talk to the press. You wanna get a message out there because your team’s gonna hear that message.”