Avoid the trap game: Nick Saban's staff put rat traps around the Alabama facility before Kentucky win

The motivational ploy worked as Alabama easily won 49-21

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - NOVEMBER 11: Nick Saban the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field on November 11, 2023 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Alabama is 9-1 after beating Kentucky on Saturday. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Nick Saban’s motivational skills are still top-notch.

No. 8 Alabama clinched the SEC West title Saturday with a 49-21 win over Kentucky that was exactly as much of a blowout as the score indicated. Alabama entered the game with wins over rivals Tennessee and LSU and Saban wanted to make sure that his team didn’t overlook the Wildcats.

“Yeah we had rat traps in the locker room,” Cornerback Terrion Arnold said. “Locker room, going around the facility — not getting caught in it. Because I mean, think about it when you look at all this and all the external factors, we came off two big wins and Coach Saban said it’s human nature to be happy.”

Arnold had an interception in the win as the Crimson Tide have won eight straight games since losing to Texas in Week 2. He said that he was unsure exactly who put the rat traps in and around Alabama’s football facility, but it was a first in his time at Alabama.

“Yeah, that’s the first time I’ve seen it since I’ve been here,” Arnold said. “It was wooden. Had a little cheese right there. I’m kinda like adventurous so I put my hand in to see if it really worked and it really did work.”

Saban made it clear in the opening statement of his postgame news conference that he viewed Kentucky as a trap game too. While he didn’t mention the rat traps, he talked about what he had players do in the pregame team meeting.

“I was pleased that the team didn’t buy into the rat poison or whatever you want to call it,” Saban said. “I thought this was a little bit of a trap game and I actually asked the players yesterday in the team meeting to stand up and say what they had to do. Each position. Each leader at each position. And I told them before the game that I trusted that they would go out and do that and that’s exactly what they did.”

While it was the first time Arnold had seen rat traps in the locker room, we’re guessing that this isn’t the first time that Saban has tried the tactic. And it appears that he executed the motivational ploy much better than UTSA coach Jeff Traylor did. Traylor and his staff put rat traps in players’ lockers after the team beat Florida Atlantic earlier in the season. A player on the team then took a trap and put it on Traylor’s podium and the coach got his pinky finger smashed in it.