Alabama football coach Nick Saban explains his Christmas gift-buying strategy

DALLAS — Alabama football players got three days off for Christmas before assembling in Dallas to prepare for the College Football Playoff. Their coach, Nick Saban, was still game-planning during his time off.

Not for No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl, though.

Saban had a scheme ready to discreetly buy Christmas gifts for the family.

"You have a technique for everything," the coach said Wednesday on his radio show in Dallas. "So when I go to shop, I'll go to a department store. I always have a lady that I tip very generously and give her a list of things to go buy. And I hide in the back, she goes and buys them, she gets them wrapped and that's it."

Alabama (12-1) faces the Bearcats (13-0) on Friday (2:30 p.m., ESPN) at AT&T Stadium, with the winner advancing to the National Championship Game on Jan. 10. While in Dallas this week before the game, Alabama's players made the decision to stay confined to the team hotel because of the risk of the COVID-19 omicron variant.

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In the meantime, Saban said he thought it was important for them to rest and see family for the holidays. The coach had to adapt to the latest development in the gift-giving game this year.

"What everybody's decided to do at my house now is they buy their own gifts and wrap them and put them under the bed," Saban said. "So they know what they are, but I don't really know what they got. So it's kind of backwards."

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama football coach Nick Saban's Christmas gift-buying strategy