By Michael Casagrande
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Nick Saban's big-screen debut that is just weeks away almost never happened.
Addressing a question about his cameo role in "The Blind Side," Saban said he originally turned down the small part in the movie adaptation of the book that chronicles the story of former Ole Miss and current Baltimore Raven Michael Oher.
"I don't want to say any names, but someone who is a very influential person called me and asked me to do it for Michael Oher and the Tuohy family, and I ended up doing it," Saban said.
The fact that he played himself as the LSU coach at the time the movie was set, was a concern.
"My heart's here, so nobody has to worry about that stuff, especially this week," Saban said in reference to Alabama's showdown with LSU on Saturday.
The movie-making experience was a good one, Saban said, although he wasn't initially impressed with the writing of his few lines. He didn't think portrayal of a recruiting visit were accurate from a dialogue standpoint.
The director's response: "Say it however you want to say it."
Saban has yet to see the film set for release Nov. 20, but some of his screen time already has been revealed in television ads. In one trailer, star Sandra Bullock's character calls Saban "extremely handsome" in a line Saban said mirrored the actual recruiting visit made to the home of Oher's adopted family.
Tide running back Roy Upchurch gave quality answers to two thought-provoking questions following Wednesday's practice.
First, he was asked about the third-down play late in the Tennessee game when he caught a pass in the middle of the field before running into the umpire and coming up short of the first down. Leigh Tiffin kicked a field goal on the next play to give the Tide a 12-3 lead.
"Wow, I can't talk about it right now," he said with a smile. "You'd have a lot of beeps in here."
Later he was asked about activity under a pile of players in light of the Brandon Spikes eye-gauging incident. He never had his eyes poked but has experienced excessive "grabbing" in similar situations.
Tide cornerback Kareem Jackson said the issue is "just football," although he said he never did anything like that.
"I try to stay out from getting under those piles," he said. "I try to dive on last."