Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

A chip off the ol’ Saban

If Georgia does indeed win on Saturday, the irony shouldn’t be lost on us that, at least in part, it can be chalked up to the program emulating much of what Alabama’s done to build itself into college football’s best program over the past eight years.  And credit for some – okay, much – of that approach has to go to Jeremy Pruitt, who obviously absorbed a lot during his time in Tuscaloosa.

Take this quote, for example.

“I think one that we’d like to do is create the standard and the expectations here, do it over and over and hold everyone accountable that don’t do it the way that we want them to do it,” Pruitt said. “That’s what you have to do in any organization if you want to have success. You have to define the roles for the individuals in the organization, and if they do it right, pat them on the back. If they don’t, you have to correct them.”

I mean, close your eyes and listen there.  All that’s missing is an “aight?” for it to sound just like his former boss.

Let’s just hope the results on the field match the talk.


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

For his next trick, Nick Saban announces a cure for cancer.

Hey, remember when Nick pushed for that 10-second substitution rule ’cause he was all concerned about player health and stuff?

Saban said the committee’s study of no-huddle teams revealed that an average of four snaps per game came within the first 10 seconds of the play clock. The threat of it, though, puts a limit on how a defense can adjust, Saban said.

“You’re not really affecting how they play, but what keeps you from being able to ever take a defensive player out, whether he’s hurt, pre-existing condition, whatever it is — is the fact that they might snap the ball,” he said. “So you can’t do anything. You’ve got to call timeout to get a guy out. And if you tell a guy to get down, that’s really against the rules, and they boo him out of the park.”

Well, somehow he’s managed to put aside his qualms.  With a vengeance.

Alabama averaged nine more offensive plays per game in 2014 than it did in 2013. Last week, Alabama ran 100 plays to Mississippi’s 65.

Through three games, Alabama has run 249 plays — one more than Oregon (!), and more than spread programs such as Texas A&M (234), Arizona (231), California (227), Clemson (225), Texas Tech (218) and Auburn (188).

It’s a miracle!


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics


I’m not going to argue it’s a sign that the Alabama dynasty under Saban is over, but what does it say about a program that in losing gives up two signature plays of the year in the last couple of seasons?

Mark Schlabach is already referring to that play as the “Tip Six”.

I’m guessing the next Saban presser isn’t going to be a mellow affair.  Or Monday’s Finebaum show.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

“I’m not sorry for giving him an opportunity. I’m sorry for the way things worked out.”

The sausage making that went into Nick Saban’s decision – and let’s not get too cute here, it was Saban’s decision – to admit Jonathan Taylor to Alabama after his dismissal at Georgia ain’t pretty.

Taylor’s path to the University of Alabama and Nick Saban’s team is well-known: Saban recruited him and put him on the team but dismissed him after another domestic violence police report was made. Under national media scrutiny for signing Taylor in the first place, Alabama athletic director Bill Battle said officials had “thoroughly investigated numerous sources regarding the young man” in addition to talking with Taylor before he enrolled.

Outside the Lines has learned that McGarity was among those Battle had spoken with — in a phone call in which McGarity confirmed details found in the police report. The call occurred just four days after Georgia had taken extraordinary measures to inform Alabama about the case, Outside the Lines has learned. Georgia officials sent photos of the woman’s injuries to University of Alabama police nearly three weeks before Taylor enrolled and also sent copies of two police incident reports involving Taylor. One report contained information not available to the public — contact information for the alleged domestic violence victim and the person who reported the incident to police. Alabama did not reach out to either person, a source told Outside the Lines, nor did it ever reach out to the district attorney presiding over the case.

The photographs sent to Alabama campus police have not been made public because they are part of Taylor’s pending court case. Outside the Lines did not review them, and Georgia officials say that deputy athletic director Williams is the only non-law enforcement official at the school who has seen them.

They were, however, “shared with [Alabama campus police] in order for all involved at the decision-making level to see the severity of the injuries involved, and for the nature of the incident to be understood in the hopes of preventing other students from being victimized,” Georgia spokesman Bob Taylor told Outside the Lines.

An Alabama spokesman on Friday said neither Saban nor Battle ever saw the photos.

That’s what you call willful ignorance.

Two things here… one, McGarity spoke on the record about how serious Taylor’s assault was.  (“The police report was very descriptive, there probably wasn’t much of a question that what happened, did happen.”)  I don’t know if that was done out of a sense of propriety or to make sure everyone knows that Georgia wasn’t guilty of its own cover up of Taylor’s transgression here, but it’s worth noting in either case.

Second, it sounds like anyone who was skeptical of Taylor’s girlfriend’s retraction of the charges she filed against him in Tuscaloosa was right to feel that way.

Three days after Taylor’s arrest, however, the girlfriend recanted her story and told police her wounds were self-inflicted. She was arrested on a charge of filing a false police report but, according to court records, on July 7, Taylor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief as a result of the incident, and her charge was dismissed the same day.

Lt. Kip Hart, assistant commander of the Tuscaloosa Homicide Unit, told Outside the Lines that the woman’s charge was dismissed because she later came back to police and told them her original report was true. “There was evidence to believe the initial story was accurate” Hart said. Court records confirm she ended up cooperating in the case against Taylor, and that’s why the prosecution of Taylor moved forward.

There is something unsettling about all of this.  Perhaps mostly because it’s hard to understanding why Saban’s judgment appears so clouded in pursuing Taylor.  This being Alabama, nothing further will come of it, but it’s interesting to compare what’s happened at Baylor in the wake of the Ukwuachu conviction.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Nick Saban Rules

The new, improved Nick Saban

A couple of good pieces on how Saban appears to be remaking the Alabama team – one from Ian Boyd, the other from Michael Casagrande at  And three observations from me…

  • One, I think Boyd is spot on with this:  “For years, all of this versatility and talent choked out SEC offenses with individually crafted game plans. But then Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and his up-tempo company came around. One Alabama source says Malzahn, the author of The Hurry-Up, No-Huddle, is inside Saban’s head.”  Did you ever think it was possible for another coach to pull that off?  I didn’t.
  • Two, for all the “Kiffin did this and Kiffin did that” stuff, let’s not forget which team led the SEC last season in yards per offensive play and scoring.  And with a lot less soul searching, it seems.
  • Three, if Nick Saban is going all in with shedding weight in the secondary – as Boyd notes, “Barring some big summer weight gains, this will be Saban’s first Alabama secondary to not feature a DB over 200 pounds.” – Brian Schottenheimer sure as hell better have a game plan prepared to take advantage of that by pounding the snot out of them.  Because it seems like he’s got the players with which to do so.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

Playing the hand you’re dealt.

Possibly coming soon, to an Alabama sideline near you…

(Mike Kittrell/

But, though Nick Saban didn’t commit Alabama to being a hurry-up team again, they’re dabbling in the play card business. Players referenced their use in the spring and a few were used in the open practice Aug. 9 in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Unlike other teams that divide the posters with multiple pictures, Alabama’s appeared to have one prominent image on each sign. One was the helmet of the Miami Dolphins, Saban’s employer from 2004-06.

Saban said the signs resulted from meetings with coaches from Ohio State, TCU and others who use no-huddle offenses. The idea was to minimize communication.

“We felt like last year we were kind of learning how to be a no-huddle team on the run because of the personnel we had,” Saban said. “We thought it was best suited for Blake (Sims), and we’ve talked about that many times before, but we didn’t go in with the idea that we were going to be a no-huddle team.

“So we visited a lot of people during the offseason to try and come up with the best system – Kansas, Washington, a lot of people that go no-huddle ― It’s just a methodology of how some people get formations and plays in the game.”

Man, Nick Saban, I don’t know you anymore.

At least they shouldn’t have any trouble finding somebody to hold up the signs – if there isn’t someone on the payroll now for that, they’ll get one.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

“Look, Nick’s a friend of mine.”

So, do you figure the next NCAA rules dispute goes a little more in Nick Saban’s favor than the 10-second substitution kerfuffle did?

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, The NCAA