Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

“As the second hour of the show began, Finebaum went to “Kellen” on Line 1.”

Sooner or later, everybody calls PAWWWLLL.

Kellen Williams was on his way to Birmingham for a job interview Monday when he simply couldn’t take it anymore.

The former Alabama offensive lineman was tuned in to the Paul Finebaum Show and heard multiple callers take shots at Nick Saban for his stance on the now-tabled 10-second proposal. So, Williams did something about it.

Yeah, he gave a half-assed defense of his coach.

“I think he’s just lobbying for the no-huddle offense to be kind of cut out but then again he also game-planned for it,” Williams said. “He knows better than anyone in the country how to stop it…”

That’s the kind of incoherent bullshit we’ve all come to know and love from Finebaum’s audience.  Williams fits right in.  Maybe he’ll become a regular with Tammy and the rest of ‘em.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, PAWWWLLL!!!

Sympathy for the devil

See if you can spot the straw man Chris Low builds to better his argument that Nick Saban Will Survive, By Damn.

So regardless of what Saban’s agenda is or isn’t, saying he’s trying to create a competitive advantage for his defense through a rules change is a stretch.

The competitive advantage he has created goes back to the way he has recruited and developed players.

Nobody’s saying Saban’s trying to create a competitive advantage with the 10-second substitution rule proposal.  He’s simply trying to keep the one he’s already got – you know, the one Low references in his second sentence.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But the reality is that Saban’s advantage is hard to construct and expensive to maintain, which is why it’s one that few programs can match.  While that makes it worthy of a strong defense on Saban’s part, it also makes it harder to support if others lacking in Alabama’s resources are able to level the playing field on any given Saturday with greater strategic creativity.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Nick Saban Rules

l’defense, c’est moi.

Hey, assholes, you think Nick Saban’s got selfishly ulterior motives pushing that 10-second substitution rule?  Well, screw you – he’s got proof he doesn’t.  His proof is Nick Saban.

“For all of you out there that know what I’m thinking and the fact that I’m trying to create an advantage for the defense, I’m not trying to create an advantage for the defense,” Saban said Wednesday in a meeting with local reporters. “I don’t even think we need an advantage. Why do we need an advantage? If you look at the statistics, we’ve been playing better than most.”

For a guy coming off two losses to teams running HUNH where his defense gave up an average of 40 points per game, that’s pretty damned awesome.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Saban goes Bert.

Geez, Nick.  You were doing so well keeping your opinions about the 10-second rule to yourself.  And then you had to go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like this:

“The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there’s no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic. What’s the logic? If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20? I guess there’s no study that specifically says that. But logically, we would say, ‘Yeah, there probably is.'”

Nice tortured analogy.  However, if you really want to go there, shouldn’t you apply the same logic to the effect of schedule expansion?  In the last two decades or so, the regular season has gotten longer and most conferences have added a championship game.  And now, the postseason is embarking on an expansion kick.  Starting this season, an Alabama team that plays for the national title after winning the SECCG will be hitting and tackling opponents for the fifteenth time.  That’s a 25% increase from the early nineties, assuming bowl eligibility.

Funny how Saban has nothing to say about that.

And unlike the up-tempo stuff, there may be some relevant data out there about schedule size.  Per Dave Bartoo,

In the 2013, 133k play FBS season, 526 guys were lost for the year during the season to injury. In the 32 team, 16 game, 32k plays NFL it was 205 season ending injuries. OR season ending injuries during the season occurred 162% more often per play in the NFL than FBS. OR one SEI in the NFL every 156 plays to 253 on the FBS.

The NFL doesn’t have a pace problem.  Even Saban acknowledges that.  What it does have is a longer season.  While I won’t insist correlation equals causation, that’s not the banner of logic ol’ Nick’s marching under here.

Saban is as calculating a man as you’ll find.  I don’t take this as some sort of irrational outburst.  It indicates two things to me – one, that the rule proposal is a big deal for him, and, two, that he’s concerned it won’t pass.  He’s playing the player safety card because it’s the way to get a change in the rule this season and because it’s easier to generate support for this than it is for a debate over tactics.

What I can’t figure out are his motives.  Why the rush?  I have a hard time believing he’s that insecure about defending HUNH offenses. He’s smart and his program recruits better than any other in the country.  Something doesn’t add up.

Not to mention he’s handing Alabama’s biggest rival a most handy club to bash him with on the recruiting trail.

“It’s a joke, is what it is,” Jacobs said in an interview with this week. “Everything’s going faster in sports. You get penalized if you don’t play fast enough in golf. Now you’ve got pitch counts in baseball to throw a pitch. And to think we’re slowing something down without any data is just ridiculous to me. The thing about it is, kids today, they love playing in this hurry-up type offense because it’s fun. So if you like to have fun, you need to go to a place like Auburn.”

Is it just about screwing with what Auburn does?  You got me.


UPDATE:  Jon Solomon makes a similar point, with a twist.

… There are potentially more meaningful, under-the-radar ways than the 10-second rule to help player safety.

1. Reduce the number of games.

Good luck seeing that happen. That would be one less home game for schools to generate revenue. But it’s the easiest and simplest way to guarantee fewer hits to a player during the course of a season and his career. Saban, who wants to reduce the exposure for players, is the loudest proponent for a ninth conference game in the SEC, which is considered the most physically-demanding conference.

When Florida State won the national championship in 1999, the Seminoles played 12 total games the whole season. The Seminoles played 14 games last season to win the national title. If they reach the national title game next season in the new College Football Playoff, they will have likely played 15 games.

Florida State’s offense had 15 percent more total plays in 2013 than in 1999, and the Seminoles’ defensive plays increased by 29 percent. Yet Florida State’s plays per game on offense barely moved up from 68.3 in 1999 to 68.7 in 2013. Tempo adds to more plays for many teams in football today, but not necessarily to the toll more games places on the body.

Football coaches and a handful of conferences (the ACC was one) lobbied against 12 games when the change occurred in 2005. More leagues (including the ACC) have added conference championship games since then. Not to mention, what about the exposure to hits that overmatched teams face against elite teams due to more guarantee games being added by an extra game?

The maximum number of games most college football players in the early 2000s could have played over a four-year career was 48. Starting next season, the four-year maximum will be 60. College football’s hunt for money means up to an entire regular season could be added onto players’ bodies over the course of their career.  [Emphasis added.]

One thing more important than player safety is bank balance stability.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

Physician Nick, heal thyself?

When it comes to the HUNH, we know Saban’s got player safety on his mind.

“If you ask the guys philosophically, a lot of them that run the offense, they say we want to wear the defense down and get the defense tired,” he said. “Well, you get the defensive players tired, they are going to be more susceptible to getting injured.”

Perhaps he should be looking closer to home first.

Of course, that could explain all the medical scholarships handed out in Tuscaloosa.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, The Body Is A Temple

It was all that Bert guy’s idea.

Saban“I had nothing to do with the idea of the 10-second rule.”

He’s good.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, The NCAA

“So, you want to talk about the ‘Saban Rule’?”

Spurdog goes there.

“He took it upon himself to go before the rules committee and get it done,” Spurrier said. “They tried to change the rules. But I don’t think they’re gonna get away with it.”

SEC Media Days are gonna be a freakin’ blast.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics, The Evil Genius

The sum of all Saban’s fears

Okay, now that the player safety justification for the proposed substitution rule has been widely mocked/debunked in the press and in coaching circles, let’s get back to the reason it was cited in the first place – it’s nothing more than a means to an end.

In the NCAA’s non-rules change years, proposals can only be made for student-athlete safety reasons or modifications that enhance the intent of a previous rules change.

It was the only way the Rules Committee could bring it up now.  Which begs the question, what’s the damned hurry?

That question is only augmented by the appearance of one Nick Saban before the committee.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and Alabama coach Nick Saban voiced their concerns about the effects of up-tempo, no-huddle offenses on player safety to the NCAA committee that passed a proposal to slow down those attacks.

Neither Bielema nor Saban were on the committee and they did not vote on the proposal passed Wednesday to allow defenses time to substitute between plays by prohibiting offenses from snapping the ball until 29 seconds are left on the 40-second play clock.

NCAA coordinator of officials Rogers Redding said Thursday that Bielema was at the meeting in Indianapolis as a representative of the American Football Coaches Association.

“Coach Saban asked for the opportunity to meet with the committee and talk about this,” Redding said. “It’s not routine, but it’s not unique, either.”

Yeah, so where were the voices of coaches opposed to the rule change?  Judging from the reactions of some, it sounds like none of those folks knew there was a need to raise their voices in the first place.

Briles added that the proposal came “out of the blue.”

“If they’re going to change anything in my mind, change it to a 35-second [play] clock,” Briles said. “People don’t want to come sit in the stands and watch the clock move.”

The proposal will be submitted to the membership for comment before it lands with the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP, see roster here). The 11-member panel is scheduled to meet March 6 — most likely by conference call — to consider the proposal. A majority vote of those 11 members will decide whether it becomes a rule in time for the 2014 season, according to a PROP member.

“I didn’t know [the proposal] was coming,” said that member, who did not want to be identified. “It will be interesting to see the fallout.”

Based on what we’ve already seen in a day, no shit, Sherlock.

So, again, where’s the fire?  Does Nick Saban feel that threatened by HUNH offenses?  (If so, Finebaum ought to have a field day with that.)

Perhaps this encapsulates the real debate best:

“Should we allow football to be a continuous game?” Saban asked. “Is that the way the game was designed to play?”

A person with knowledge of the meeting said Saban addressed the rules committee on the topic. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. Bielema, in his role as a representative of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), participated in the discussions but does not have a committee vote. Through a spokesman, Bielema declined comment. Saban could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, several coaches who employ uptempo offenses told USA TODAY Sports the proposal took them completely by surprise.

The answer to Saban’s question, according to Rodriguez and others who want to play faster, is yes. They consider fast football to be superior entertainment. It is also undoubtedly an equalizer, with speedy skill players forcing defenses to play from sideline to sideline – and then to keep doing it, over and over, at high rpm.  [Emphasis added.]

Alabama recruits at a higher level than any program in the country.  It’s got resources available to it that only a few other schools can compete with, let alone match.  Coaches employing HUNH schemes are doing so in the belief that it’s the best means they have of countering the Tide’s personnel advantage (or, to be fair, any school that recruits at a higher level).  It seems to work, too.

Coaches like Sumlin and Malzahn are invested in this in their recruiting – just look at how quickly Malzahn was able to turn Auburn around last season with most of the same offensive personnel Malzahn previously recruited that Chizik couldn’t function with in 2012.  And their schools are invested in those coaches.  Saban’s not just moving against how the game is played, but he’s trying to screw with his peers’ livelihoods.  I don’t think that’s gonna go down real well.

I’m not blaming Saban for trying, mind you.  All’s fair in love, war and NCAA rulemaking.  But pushing through a major change in the rules based on the desire of a powerful coach with little thought as to the justification or the ramifications strikes me as another example of that NCAA ham-handedness we’ve come to know and love.

Heckuva job, Markie.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

Yes, but can he play quarterback?

Former Georgia players, the good luck charms of the SEC:

Ty Flournoy-Smith, who was dismissed from UGA after getting into trouble a couple of times, committed to Alabama on Monday night.

Flournoy-Smith played this season at Georgia Military junior college and took an official visit to Alabama last weekend without a scholarship offer. He got a call from Nick Saban on Monday, and tweeted out his commitment to the Crimson Tide.

The best part of this tale is that Ole Miss couldn’t make room for him on the roster, but somehow Alabama could.  That’s when you know you’re somebody special.


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

Call for the doctor

The great thing about this post is how utterly routine it manages to make the topic sound.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting