Yes, you read the headline right. Alabama coach Nick Saban is heaping the praise on Texas A&M's offense and in turn, adding to the anticipation of Saturday's game between the Aggies and Crimson Tide.
"Texas A&M has an outstanding team, one of the best offensive teams probably in college football, maybe in this history of college football in terms of their quarterback's ability to make plays and the great job of executing that they do," Saban said Wednesday during his SEC teleconference. "They're a very well-coached team."
That quarterback is of course Johnny Manziel, the defending Heisman Trophy winner who threw for 253 yards and ran for 92 more in Texas A&M's 29-24 win at Alabama last season, the only time the 2012 National Champs lost all season.
Saban also praised Manziel's athleticism, which was on display in that game last year and athleticism, that combined with Texas A&M's uptempo attack, gives defensive coordinators fits.
Through two games (admittedly vs. Rice and Sam Houston State), Texas A&M has scored 52 and 65 points respectively, and rolled up 1200 yards of offense.
Has Saban come around on those fast-paced offenses too? He's previously questioned player safety by virtue of those offense because of the increased plays per game. But he'd also be the first person to tell you that the reason many teams are rushing to cram more plays per game is because of its effectiveness.
Saban isn't shy about complimenting other teams, especially if they've beaten his. However, given his disdain for distractions and the hype that surround games like Saturday's between the two schools, it's a bit surprising to see him heighten the excitement.