Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

The Process can never fail. It can only be failed.

I think it’s a fairly widespread feeling among our fans that, for whatever reason one might choose, Georgia didn’t show up against Texas in its final game of last season.

My pick would be the disappointment of having to settle for a top tier bowl game instead of the CFP semi-finals.  Georgia went from being a team that most considered one of the nation’s four best to one that couldn’t get past a Texas team that dropped a game to Maryland.  The stakes, in other words, weren’t big enough to hold the players’ attention.

While there’s a certain echo in that to a game earlier in Kirby Smart’s career, Alabama’s embarrassing loss to Utah in the ’09 Sugar Bowl, what’s kind of interesting is how the Tide has gotten to the point where losses on even the biggest stage are blamed on mindset, instead of the quality of the opponent.

In response to that, Dan Wolken makes a good point.

Ohio State beat Alabama, 42-35, in last season’s Sugar Bowl, advancing to the College Football Playoff national title game and eventually winning the national championship.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is obviously still a little sore about that loss, and he’s not too happy with … the NFL Draft?

Saban said Wednesday at SEC Media Days that with his players receiving their NFL Draft grades from the league two and a half weeks before the Sugar Bowl, some of them played not to get hurt in that crucial game against the Buckeyes. He even went as far to say that those draft evaluations screwed with the Tide’s team chemistry.

I don’t know if you should chalk that up to arrogance, being jaded or simply a weird form of player motivation, but, damn, I hope Georgia never reaches that stage.

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“When you hear that beat, it really is something.”

Nick Saban and I shared a concert venue in 2015?  Who knew?

Like most boomer dads, Saban marvels at the fact that the septuagenarian Stones—Jagger (75), Keith Richards (75), Charlie Watts (78), and Ronnie Wood (72)—can still shred. The last time he saw them live was in 2015 at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium. “The first thing is ‘Start Me Up,’” he said.

He probably had better seats, though.

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Friday morning buffet

Have a little nosh on me.

  • You can get odds on Nick Saban’s retirement now.
  • When Isaiah Wilson says, “I want to physically beat you,” I believe him.
  • The Pac-12 has “multiple bids of at least $750 million in hand from companies looking to become equity investors in the conference.” If one of the conditions for purchase is that Larry Scott steps down, that might be a fair trade off.
  • Maryland:  nobody could do a worse job than we did with Jordan McNair’s death.  Garden City Community College:  hold my beer.
  • The majority of SEC coaches don’t sound that enamored with the Oklahoma drill.
  • From sagging attendance and hefty debt service payments for their upgraded facilities to beer sales, a tale for our times.  Concerning a member of the conference generating the most revenue, to boot.
  • More revenue woes:  when Mizzou is bleeding money, it’s the cheerleading coaches who must pay.
  • Not a good look when three safeties, including both starters, enter the transfer portal on back-to-back days, West Virginia.
  • A sign that you’re getting old:  Mack Brown has knee replacement surgery performed by a former player.

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Filed under Big Ten Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple, Transfers Are For Coaches., What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

Playing the portal

You’ll love Andy Staples’ latest column for obvious reasons…

That there are two SEC programs acting this way instead of one should excite everyone within the league. Since splitting into divisions in 1992, the SEC has always been the most fun when two programs duked it out at the top. For much of the first decade after the split, those two programs were Florida and Tennessee. That was a little anticlimactic because Florida won so many of those matchups and because those games always took place in September. The ideal came in 2008 and ’09 when Alabama and Florida played in consecutive SEC title games that served as de facto national semifinals. But then Urban Meyer quit, came back and quit again in Gainesville and Alabama essentially ruled the league—with guest appearances by Auburn and LSU—for most of this decade. That changed when Smart got to Athens. Saban won the SEC West in his second year at Alabama. Smart won the SEC in his second year at Georgia in 2017 but fell to Alabama in overtime of the national title game. Last year, the Bulldogs led the Crimson Tide for most of the SEC title game but fell when backup quarterback Jalen Hurts led Alabama back in the fourth quarter (shortly before Hurts entered the transfer portal and got beamed to Oklahoma).

Georgia is going to have to win one of these to turn this into a true slugfest at the top—and LSU, Auburn and Florida still may have their say—but it appears these two programs are set up for an epic rivalry.

… but for my money, Andy’s point about the transfer portal is way more interesting.

Throughout this spring meeting season, the easiest way to get a millionaire football coach on his soapbox was to bring up the NCAA’s transfer portal. Most coaches are freaked out by the notion that they can’t control where players are allowed to transfer on scholarship.

At the SEC’s spring meetings on Tuesday, the waters were thoroughly chummed with transfer portal questions, but two coaches handled those questions differently than most of their colleagues around the country have. Alabama’s Nick Saban and Georgia’s Kirby Smart are playing a different game than most of their brethren, so it makes sense that their responses would diverge from the mainstream.

“I can’t tell you how many guys are in the portal,” Saban said. “We check it just to see if there’s anybody we would be interested in if we have a position of need.” Said Smart: “I don’t think there’s a major concern there. You’ve got 85 scholarships. You’ve got to work off your 85.”

Translation: Everyone wants to play for us. If someone leaves, it’s because they aren’t playing as much as they think they should. And if we do have an open spot, we know there are dozens of good players who would crawl across broken glass to get on our rosters. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and Ohio State’s Ryan Day can take similar stances because their programs are in similar places. Unlike many of their counterparts, they don’t consider the introduction of the portal—which remains the coolest name ever for an online spreadsheet—to be the start of the downfall of western civilization. Where their less accomplished, less creative counterparts see chaos, they see opportunity.

This was the point I was trying to make the other day with my post about Saban’s sanguine take on the transfer portal.  If you’re an elite recruiter selling an elite program, you’ve already come to the realization that it’s not worth sweating the portal.  In fact, you’ve already come to the realization that it’s a tool for making your roster management even more efficient.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who, say, has a name that rhymes with Mus Galzahn, the transfer portal is more of a challenge than a useful tool.  That’s all the more reason for Saban’s and Smart’s apparent lack of concern.  Hell, they probably deserve some credit for not being outwardly gleeful about it.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Transfers Are For Coaches.

It’s a damned shame, Gus.

Since when did Nick Saban become so understanding about life’s little inconveniences?

While any tangible rule changes are unlikely, especially after the league made it easier for student-athletes to transfer in and out of the conference in prior years, coaches and administrators will inevitably discuss ways the SEC can be more proactive in addressing some key issues associated with the new transfer model.

“Look, whatever the rules are, that’s what we have to live with,” Alabama’s Nick Saban said last month. “So we’re just hopeful that we do a good job for our players and they stay committed to our program and doing the things that they need to do to be successful.”

I mean, this is a guy who raged and schemed against the hurry up no huddle offense for a couple of years.  Why so mellow now, Nick?

Still, other SEC programs haven’t been so lucky, including at rival Auburn, where 11 total players have submitted their names into the portal, including sophomore quarterback Malik Willis, who found himself on the outside looking in on the battle to be the Tigers’ starter this spring. Willis remains in limbo without a solid landing spot, while others like offensive tackle Calvin Ashley, defensive tackle Jauntaivus Johnson, cornerback Cam’Ron Kelly and running back Asa Martin have already transferred to Florida Atlantic, Colorado, North Carolina and Miami, respectively.

Oh.

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Friday morning buffet

Go ahead and get you some.

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Filed under ACC Football, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Mike Leach. Yar!, Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

Today, in always be ‘crootin’.

I have a soft spot for goofy comments like this:

“The White Walkers were the bad dudes, man,” Saban said Wednesday on WJOX 94.5 FM’s The Roundtable. “I mean, if we were recruiting, we would go north and try to recruit some of those guys.”

I’m not sure how well they’d hold up in September SEC games, but you can’t fault a man for trying.

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