Alabama Crimson Tide head football coach Nick Saban made his first public comments about his star quarterback AJ McCarron dating Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and celebrity Katherine Webb.
Saban spoke to a crowd of about 1,500 people at the Athens, Tenn., Chamber of Commerce benefit dinner.
An Alabama fan in the audience decided to ask Saban about the McCarron-Webb romance and the impact it’ll have on McCarron’s ability to lead the team to another national championship.
“She’s such a beautiful woman,” the fan said. “And AJ, he needs to concentrate on football.”
“I’d like to put you in his situation and see how you’d handle it,” Saban said drawing a few laughs from the crowd.
The fan didn’t back down.
“Do you have a process to keep AJ focused?”
“Yeah,” Saban said.
He paused long enough to generate a few more laughs and some applause. Then he talked about McCarron’s leadership abilities.
“AJ has been trained to be a good leader and the players love him,” Saban said. “Football’s important to him. I wouldn’t even know he was dating anyone if you didn’t tell me that, because he’s there every day doing what he’s supposed to do. He really is. I have no question about that.”
Webb became an instant celebrity after ESPN cameras focused on her during coverage of Alabama’s victory over Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game last January.
She’s gone from a struggling model to a reported net worth of $1 million, after landing photos shoots for Sports Illustrated and Vanity Fair, as well as TV gigs with “Inside Edition,” ABC’s “Splash” reality show, MTV and Spike TV.
In her most recent TV interview, Webb said that she and McCarron are going strong.
Of course, that interview was conducted before the news hit the tabloids that lingerie model Margaret Wood, a friend of McCarron’s, spent the night at his house last weekend.
“We were hanging out at his house, and I had been drinking, so he didn’t want me to drive,” Wood told RadarOnline. “I did not stay at a hotel. That’s all I can say. I’m trying to be careful about what I say because I feel really bad.”
While those Alabama fans attending Saban’s talk didn’t bring up the sensational story about Wood and McCarron, Saban said his quarterback is focused and will be ready for the upcoming season.
“He learned,” Saban said. “Last year, he threw 30 touchdown passes and only had three interceptions. He’s come a long way.”