Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

Thursday morning buffet

I haven’t taken the chafing dishes out in a while, so here goes…

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Filed under Big Ten Football, Blowing Smoke, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

The Kirby Smart factor

Savor these times, friends.

JC Shurburtt, the former national scouting director at 247Sports, said it’s still not impossible for Alabama to pull a signing day straight and steal another No. 1 spot. It’s just a real longshot at this point.

“Where I would caution people, is don’t think this is a down year for Alabama,” Shurburtt said. “This is a situation where Georgia is getting their share of guys because of their success and it’s always been that way in the state of Georgia. Georgia is the preferred team for a lot of these guys who grow up over there. And you can’t take advantage of them under-achieving with them playing for the national championship and Kirby Smart and his staff do an excellent job.”

The Kirby Smart factor is hard to ignore in this whole dynamic.

One of Alabama’s best recruiters in his eight seasons as defensive coordinator, Smart was a big reason the Tide did so well just east of the state line. Back in 2012, Alabama signed eight from Georgia. Since Smart took over in Athens, Alabama hasn’t signed more than one per class from Georgia. The Tide’s lone commitment for this class, Quay Walker, is now classified as a “soft commit” with Tennessee and Georgia gaining ground in the fight to flip the four-star linebacker.

Smart is the X-factor in it all.

“It hurts. It definitely hurts,” said Farrell of Rivals. “They’ve done a good job at Georgia in recent years. When you look at Kirby Smart being able to win head-to-head battles for guys that Alabama covets. Being able to flip guys that Alabama had committed. It’s not often that happens to Alabama at all.”

Savor, but don’t gloat.  After all, while it may be a long shot, it wouldn’t be a total surprise to wake up Thursday morning and find that Nick Saban had somehow convinced the top eight recruits out there to come to Tuscaloosa.

But definitely savor.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

All the right moves

Allow me to submit the proposition that a man willing to subject himself to this on the recruiting trail (with apparently good humor, mind you)…

… isn’t the kind of man intent on hanging his spurs up any time soon.  (h/t)

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

“I think it’s more exciting.”

Nick Saban, I don’t know you anymore.

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t heard him say it.  I think my world has been rocked a little.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

Concede ain’t played ‘Bama, PAWWWLLL.

One thing I’ve found amusing in the comments lately is the idea floated by some that, with Georgia’s season culminating in a last second loss to the Tide in the national title game combined with Kirby Smart’s recruiting prowess, Nick Saban has stared into some sort of abyss and conceded there’s a new sheriff in SEC Town and his run is over.

The only problem with that is… well…

Alabama is adding Penn State receivers coach and passing game coordinator Josh Gattis as the Tide’s new WR coach and co-offensive coordinator, a source told SI.

In the past seven seasons, the 34-year-old Gattis has produced seven all-conference receivers and three All-Americans. Gattis will take over the Tide’s receivers from Mike Locksley, who is being promoted to offensive coordinator after Brian Daboll returned to the NFL.

In 2015 Gattis was named the Big Ten Recruiter of the Year, as he was instrumental in Penn State signing a Top 15 recruiting class in 2015.

and…

Earlier this week, sources had reported that Alabama’s co-offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach, Mike Locksley, had been tabbed by Nick Saban to lead the offense…

We were high on the decision for several reasons: He was the player’s choice, he was instrumental in implementing the midline zone scheme to Brian Daboll’s pro spread, there is offensive continuity that now stretches from Lane Kiffin’s tenure until the present, and, perhaps most importantly, Coach Locksley has deep recruiting ties to the fertile DMV/NOVA region[Emphasis added.]

Notice a common theme there?  I’m not sensing the proverbial towel being thrown in.

None of which is to say gaps aren’t being closed or Georgia is doomed.  Quite the contrary, as Kirby’s doing what he needs to do in that department.  But the idea that Saban’s resigned to his fate is a real stretch.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

“The 24-hour rule was still in effect.”

Man, I can’t imagine being this joyless about a national title.

“We are in the memory business,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock crowed at one point during a speech commemorating the Crimson Tide’s achievement.

Saban decidedly is not.

He is constantly spinning it forward, bracing for the next challenge that lies ahead. Word is that roughly 30 hours after Alabama defeated Georgia and Saban declared he was as happy as he’s ever been, the Tide’s martinet of a head coach was haranguing his staff about its approach to the upcoming season.

“The 24-hour rule was still in effect,” said linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton. “He’s one of those guys who celebrates for the time being and the next day it’s over with…It’s definitely crazy.”

But there is a method to the madness.

And it’s called the “Process.”

I guess he’ll celebrate when he’s dead.

Let’s hope that’s one thing Kirby won’t import from Tuscaloosa.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules

The SEC’s most powerful man is…

I’m really enjoying the continuing saga of Hugh Freeze and Alabama.  There are more than a few behind the scenes twists and turns and I can’t wait to see how they sort out.

To start with, it sounds unlikely that Freeze will be named the new offensive coordinator.  Most of the Internet chatter points to a promotion from within the staff for Mike Locksley, who has OC experience and is also an excellent recruiter.

That being said, Freeze isn’t out of the picture.  It’s complicated.  Here’s what TideSports is reporting:

Earlier this week, I reported that former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze had been in Tuscaloosa and at UA to meet with Saban. Saban respects Freeze’s offensive mind, and given the fact Ole Miss gave Alabama fits during Freeze’s tenure it’s easy to see why. So what would Freeze’s role be if Saban hired him? It’s a great question and one that, as of Tuesday morning, hadn’t been settled upon yet. Saban is really pushing for Freeze to be an on-the-field coach, The Tuscaloosa News has learned. Others in the program don’t want that happening. How much autonomy Saban has in this particular situation is unknown given Freeze’s recent history with the NCAA. Another aspect to this is that should Alabama decided to hire Freeze as an on-the-field coach, it would likely need the blessing of SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. Sankey isn’t keen on that happening, The Tuscaloosa News has learned.

Sankey denying Freeze?  Perhaps, if you take this info at face value.

The problem I have with the word “blocked” there is that I don’t believe Sankey has the power to make a unilateral call like that.  Nor am I certain it would be legal, even if he did.  Tom Fornelli says much the same thing:

However, sources tell CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd differently, saying the SEC does not have the ability to stand in the way of Saban hiring Freeze. While an SEC bylaw states a school is supposed to consult commissioner Greg Sankey when it wishes to hire an individual with major NCAA violations, the hiring decision is ultimately made by the school, not the conference.

Freeze was hit with a two-game suspension by the NCAA, but only as a head coach. He could serve as Alabama’s offensive coordinator without missing any time, but he still has that NCAA baggage.

Does anybody really believe that Nick Saban is in the least bit concerned about NCAA baggage?  All that likely means is that Alabama’s AD is caught between the crossfire of Saban’s wishes and Sankey’s preference.

But the story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the presence of one other influential individual.  Per FootballScoop,

Mike Locksley is expected to take over as offensive coordinator sources tell FootballScoop. Hugh Freeze has now met with Nick Saban. We hear Jimmy Sexton believes this is the right way to get Hugh back into things. Although this is not a done deal, most coaches we speak with believe Hugh will wind up at Alabama in some capacity.  [Emphasis added.]

Nick’s just tryin’ to help a brotha’ out, y’all.  If you’re the ‘Bama AD, do you really want to get on the bad side of Nick and Jimmy?  I bet he’s been reassuring himself over the last day or so that Sankey will get over it.

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Filed under Jimmy Sexton is the Nick Saban of agents and is Nick Saban's agent, Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football