“He just believed in his process.”

If you think Kirby Smart overextended himself during games by involving himself in every aspect of game management, you need to read this New York Times story about Nick Saban during games.  It explains a lot.

Saban himself would most likely attribute most of his success to his teams’ talent, which is annually among the best in the country. But even Saban credits his in-game decisions to pregame preparations. He has a small army of talented assistant coaches at his disposal — in addition to the nine allowed under N.C.A.A. rules, Alabama employs a special assistant, nine staff members in operations or personnel and at least eight “analysts.” The group included for much of the year five men (not including Saban) who have led a top-tier college football team of their own.

Which is to say: Saban delegates, but only to a strictly defined degree.

“Coach Saban is very hands-on in every part of our program,” the Tide’s first-year defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt, told reporters recently, “from the weight room to the nutrition to all the way down to, you know, what we’re going to wear to this press conference.”

Sound familiar?

The difference, of course, is that Saban isn’t the guy who’s surrounded himself with a new cast of coaches.  Nor is he the guy who’s in his first year as a head coach at a school with an athletic administration whose management motto hasn’t exactly been “all in”.

If you’re Kirby Smart, that’s what on the job training gets you sometimes.

Advertisements

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

22 responses to ““He just believed in his process.”

  1. 81Dog

    Nick didn’t just waltz into Alabama for his first head coaching job. He’d been a head coach at other major colleges, in major conferences, one inside the SEC (so he knew the conference well from that standpoint), and a stint in the NFL (so he knew the possibilities, good and bad, where the HC has the freedom to control everything more than college HCs).

    Sitting next to the guy driving the bus isn’t the same as driving the bus, no matter how closely you pay attention. Ask Boom. Or even McIlwaine. Or any of Spurrier’s former assistants. You don’t know if a guy can do it until he’s actually done it some place. It appears Kirby can attract the talent. Now we just have to see if he can manage it, and the thousand other things than go along with running a program at a national championship level. The jury is still out on that one.

    Like

  2. Macallanlover

    I think the idea of exploding the number of staff members to deal with the crap Nick doesn’t want to spend time on comes from his time in the NFL. Given the regulatory control freaks that live in the NCAA offices, how did they not cap this before it got out of hand? Tight limit on coaching staff but analysts falling out of the booth doesn’t compute to me, believe the speed of it caught them by surprise. If your intent is to keep rich and poor programs in balance, they could have allowed more coaches during games, and for other purposes, than leaving the door this wide open. Not many programs can spend what the top group can, just another reason to divide the haves from the have nots.

    Like

  3. Kinda makes Saban’s “this black shirt is the only thing I had clean” before the 2008 game ring a little hollow, huh? He knew what was going to happen and played it perfectly.

    Like

    • Sherlock

      Only thing I had clean

      Saban literally eats two little debbie oatmeal cream pies for breakfast and an iceberg / turkey / tomato salad for lunch every day so that he doesn’t have to devote time to making a decision. The reason he played it perfectly is he probably practiced in the mirror every day for a week while eating those salads. I would not be surprised if is his schedule includes “6:11:14AM-6:17:38AM – Bowl Movement / text recruits”.

      Like

  4. TimberRidgeDawg

    You gotta start somewhere I suppose but that Alabama thing he has going is perfect storm of an All In coach and administration.

    He coached a year at Toledo and went 9-2 before he went to the Browns as DC, then went 6-5-1, 6-6, 7-5, 6-6 his first 4 years at Michigan St. till he hit 9-2 in ’99 and was off to LSU.

    LSU was 8-4, 10-3, 8-5. 13-1 (Title), and back to 9-3 and off to the Dolphins.

    He instituted the process and resurrected LSU of course and made his name as a recruiter there. Les ran on cruise control till he finally ran the program into a tree but his record up until he hit Bama didn’t really indicate he would go on this kind of tear so free reign and an open checkbook from the Administration is a huge part of this.

    I’ve always felt the most consistent component of our inconsistency over the years has not been the coaches but the Administration. Kirby is reciting from the Book of Saban, he can recruit, now lets hope he knows how to surround himself with the right folks and lead a winner.

    Like

    • 81Dog

      I think you’ve identified a huge problem for UGA the last 20 years, especially the last 10 years. People expect Saban like results, but the administration doesn’t want to provide Saban like resources to get them. I’m not sure Nick could have done much better at UGA, if at all, if he had to labor under the same rules we’ve been laboring under for the last 10-15 years. Perhaps KS is being given more to work with from the front office, certainly more than in the past, but it still kind of feels like McCheapskate is trying to pinch pennies as much as he can.

      Like

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Jan Kemp

        Like

        • 81Dog

          Jan Kemp was probably a decent excuse for Ray Goff. All the problems we’ve had, support wise, since the hiring of Czar Mike Adams are much more about the Czar’s need to have his ring kissed and his coffers filled, than any hangover from Jan Kemp’s days.

          Like

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            Mike Adams was hired because of Jan Kemp, dude. If you think the hangover does not exist today you are not looking in the right places.

            I have heard a lot of conversation about changing the way things are done to benefit the football program and there are some indications that this is true.

            But when I see the results on the field I will believe Jan Kemp is really dead.

            Like

  5. Scorpio Jones, III

    Could we get Saban to do a deal where the president-elect sits in on some of the meetings?

    Like

  6. lakedawg

    The football program virtually runs the school in Tuscaloosa, just wonder over the last 10 years if given resources Nick has would we have won one by now.

    Like

    • Throwing money around is only part of it. You have to have a hyper organized, proactive manager in place that knows how to deploy those resources. Suggesting it’s only about the money Alabama spends is only telling half of the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. DawgPhan

    Saban being an expert likely know when and where he can be a little loose. Most experts know where they can have a little play, where a little play is required and where you have to be exact. It isnt the same with every team or year or year, but he has the experience to guide him in those decisions. The way that people dismiss the effort and skill it took to become Saban is astounding as if he sprang forth from the ground.

    Acting like Kirby is Saban is giving Smart a coaching participation trophy and acting like he won the super bowl.

    “…no one can see in the work of the artist how it has become.”

    Like

  8. Bright Idea

    Saban made it clear when he was hired at Bama that he, and only he, would be the emperor. Bama allowed that and winning quick allowed Saban to keep that privilege. If he had pulled another 7-6 in 08 doubt would have crept in and the process may have been derailed. That 2nd year was huge.

    Like

  9. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    The best phrase to describe Alabama football and Nick Saban coaching was coined on this blog by the Senator: it’s a python-like death grip. I expect pretty much the same thing tonight. Yes, Clemson is talented and some think they will win, but while it may be close in the first 15-20 minutes, I expect we will see the python start to squeeze the life out of that tiger. I could live with it if we had a python like defense.

    Like

    • Austen

      I think the Bama/Clemson outcome is a lot more uncertain than I thought it would be a couple weeks ago. First, Bama was boring against Washington, and I can’t help but think that Hurd will have a new level of challenge before him against the Clemson defense than he’s seen so far. (He can scramble, but Clemson should be somewhat prepared for that, and they should have a pass rush that makes it hard for Hurd to find receivers). Second, Clemson seemed to finally “click” on all cylinders against a solid Ohio State team (Don’t think for a minute OSU wouldn’t have been the second best team in the SEC this year.) Next, the Saban ousting of Kiffin kind of throws the Alabama offensive situation into mystery. It’s no sure thing the new dynamic works well with a true freshman QB. To me, it seems like Clemson is more so the team of destiny, but I’m not picking against that Bama defense. I’m just going to watch and make my judgement after the game.

      Like

  10. 69Dawg

    I guess I’ve become a true believer in Saban. Does anyone actually believe that Saban would have kicked Kiffin to the curb if he was sure that Sark was at least the equal of Kiffin. Kiffin’s biggest problem was that like a lot of young OC’s and I guess some old ones looking at Chaney, he could not keep from getting cute. It cost them big against OSU in that title game. He just couldn’t help himself. Saban was ok with cute as long as Kiffin could coach up the one and done QB’s that Saban has won with. The straw that broke was Kiffin not using the over powering run game that Alabama had against Washington. Once they saw that BO was going to literally run out of the place, Kiffin just had to call some passing because you know that’s what he does. Hurts was not in a groove passing at all. Maybe it was on him or maybe Washington just had a great defense against the pass. I think the changes that Saban/Pruitt have made to the defense since last year are going to slow Clemson down. If they don’t Clemson wins. If the constrictor can get it’s teeth into the Tiger, it’s dead. Watson as good as he is, is capable of turning the ball over and we know what happens then. If it is low scoring Alabama wins, if it needs to be a shootout Clemson wins.

    Like

    • Austen

      A lot of us Dawgs fans did just one year ago have an opinion that Pruitt might be a better defensive coordinator than Smart. I even was one of the audacious souls to suggest that I’d be just as happy offering Pruitt the head coaching job as Smart. Not that its a sure thing that Pruitt is better than Smart as a defensive coordinator, and we have no idea regarding the head coaching question, but yeah, it is no surprise to see Pruitt doing good things with a two deep roster of 4 and 5 star guys.

      Like

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Re Pruitt, IF bama wins this will be the 6th year of the last 7 that he’s been part of the championship. 2 as D.C., last years analyst gig before taking over for Kirby, a couple as bama DB coach, and started out as Bama full time analyst.

        Like

  11. The Dawg abides

    Game time. I’m watching on ESPN classic, no announcers, only sounds of the game and the PA system. I wish this was an option for every televised game.

    Like