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ESPN's Marty Smith Says He's Never Seen Nick Saban Like This

Alabama head coach Nick Saban on the sideline of a game.

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - OCTOBER 26: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on in the final minutes of their 48-7 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has received his fair share of criticism in the wake of Tua Tagovailoa's season-ending injury. Some believe there was no reason to be playing Tagovailoa in the middle of a blowout over Mississippi State.

Saban has since said Tagovailoa was playing to get some two-minute drill practice. He was injured on what was supposed to be his last drive of the game.

ESPN college football reporter Marty Smith defended Saban on his podcast this week, adding that he's never seen Alabama's head coach hurting like he is for Tua.

“Any angst or any question that is directed negatively at Coach Saban, that is unfair at best,” Smith said on Marty and McGee, “because, I can tell you, it’s okay to wonder ‘should Tua have been in the game?’ it’s not okay to persecute someone because Tua was in the game. This is gutting Saban. It’s gutting him. I’ve personally never seen him like this.”

“I’ve never seen him get this emotional,” Ryan McGee said.

“To see the way he’s approaching this and the visceral hurt he is obviously feeling because Tua was in the game… The response toward Saban, to me, is unfair,” Smith added.

Tagovailoa is thankfully expected to make a full recovery. He told Saban that he can't wait to see the team play on Saturday against Western Carolina.

Alabama, led by Mac Jones, is set to kick off at noon E.T. on ESPN.