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Nick Saban had a simple message for Alabama football fans in Mexico and across Latin America. You could probably guess it.
“We love that you love Alabama, and I’ll just say ‘Roll Tide’ to you,” Saban said with a rare smile during a press conference.
Saban was asked to shout out that portion of the fanbase by Oscar Clériga, a reporter from Claro Sports based in Mexico. Clériga has been the voice of Southeastern Conference football in the region for years as interest in college football, and particularly Alabama, has risen throughout Saban’s dynasty.
He called the opportunity to cover a Crimson Tide game in person a “dream” back in 2020. Clériga and a fellow reporter trekked the 1,540 miles from Mexico City to Bryant-Denny Stadium and were there Saturday to watch Alabama stomp Louisiana-Monroe. He made an appearance during the Tide’s Monday media session and let Saban know how games are broadcasted to over 17 countries, with Clériga himself on the call.
Clériga then asked the six-time national champion coach for a message to the sect of fans from the deep south.
“We appreciate all the fan support that we get in Mexico, and I wasn’t aware of all these places that watch us. But I do know that we have an iconic brand that sort of spreads, not only throughout the United States, but in some of the bordering countries in Europe,” Saban said. “So I think that’s a good thing for our program, and I know it’s a great thing for our players.”
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When Alabama defender Will Anderson Jr. took the podium about 20 minutes later, Clériga said that in Mexico, children viewed “The Terminator” as one of the “new superheroes.” Did the star linebacker have any advice for them in the early part of their football journeys?
“Of course,” Anderson said. “I appreciate you guys coming all this way just to see everything we have going on here. We greatly appreciate you guys. And to all those guys back there, keep working hard and make sure you keep the main thing the main thing. There’s going to be adversity but it’s what you do with that adversity to keep playing. Have fun. I think that’s the biggest thing you can do. Have fun. Go out there and do your best and as long as your brothers are with you or whoever is out there, just don’t take those moments for granted and just keep going on.”
Anderson had a lot of fun last Saturday against ULM. He scored his first touchdown since playing in youth leagues and won the defense’s $20-a-player turnover pool. He’ll try to add to his team-best two sacks when the Tide welcome Vanderbilt to open conference play on Saturday night.
Nick Alvarez is a reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @nick_a_alvarez or email him at NAlvarez@al.com
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