Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

Get back

Amid all the Saban-Kiffin sniping that’s admittedly been amusing to follow, Alabama’s head coach had some interesting things to say about what he wants from his offense.

“I felt like we moved further and further away from what I wanted to do last year,” Saban told ESPN this week. “I think the first two years [under Lane Kiffin] we did what the quarterback could do. It was what we needed to do from a quarterback standpoint, but we still philosophically were doing the things I wanted to do in terms of balance and utilizing all of our skill players. And last year, and this is no criticism of Lane or anybody, but having a freshman quarterback [Hurts] and trying to accommodate his skill set, we got to where we weren’t very effective passing the ball.

“Some of it was him being a freshman and us protecting him probably too much, but I wanted to get back to where we could utilize the skill guys we have on offense and still do some of the things that are difficult to defend. The point is that we had Calvin Ridley and O.J. Howard, but they had very little impact on most games.”

I get his point about not wasting Ridley’s and Howard’s talents, but overall, the philosophy expressed there seems to go against the current grain of thinking regarding offensive scheming, which is using a dual threat quarterback to exploit defenses.  Say what you will about Kiffin, but I thought his greatest strength as an offensive coordinator was his ability to design the offense around his most dynamic players.  A couple of years ago, that was Amari Cooper; in 2016, it was Hurts.

But that doesn’t seem to be where Nick Saban’s head is at now.

“You’ve got guys blocking downfield when you throw a pass. How much better does it get for the offense?” Saban said. “You’ve got to do some of that stuff, but I also thought we needed to go back and make sure we were coaching the passing game like we needed to do it to be able to develop a quarterback so we could have more balance in what we were doing. We threw a lot of passes last year (an average of 27.8 per game), but they were the kind of passes Jalen could deal with, but really not the kind of passes that took advantage of the skill players that we had.”

“We want our quarterback to be able to make plays with his feet, but we also don’t want to have to count on a lot of quarterback runs to make our offense go,” Saban said.

That sure sounds to me like a man who wants to run a more traditional pro-style, run-based, play action passing game.  What I wonder after reading that is what’s on Kirby Smart’s mind in that regard.  After all, Smart spent years soaking up Saban’s wisdom.  Yet, Smart has indicated in his comments this offseason that he wants to get away (somewhat, at least) from that kind of offense, even as his recruiting has clearly favored beefing up the size of his offensive line and receiving corps.

I’ve always seen the value in contrarian thinking when it comes to offensive philosophy.  As defenses trend towards being structured to stop spread attacks, it sure seems like running a heavier pro-style attack would be an effective way to exploit the catch that comes with that.  When it comes to offensive schemes, does Saban know something that Smart doesn’t know, or is it more a case of the two of them meeting somewhere in the middle?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

Today, in swinging dicks

Really, the shit Nick Saban has time for surprises me sometimes.

To paraphrase The Princess Bride,  Nick, you fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia,” but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never get in a pissing match with Lane Kiffin”.

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Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Nick Saban Rules

A landmark moment in Alabama football

We may never see this again in our lifetimes.

I’m guessing some hapless staffer’s ass is grass.

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How the rich stay richer

Is it wrong to think that if Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are against something, I should probably be in favor of it?

Two marquee coaches who have remained steadfast in their opposition to adding an early signing day are Alabama’s Nick Saban and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer.

Saban’s objections are that an early signing period reduces the amount of time coaches have to evaluate prospects athletically, academically and socially. Also, he said a player signing early may not play as motivated his senior high school season and added there might not be any available scholarships for late-blooming prospects.

“We would probably make some academic, character and maybe evaluation mistakes, because you aren’t even seeing a guy play during his senior season,” Saban said several months ago. “The other thing from a high school coaches’ standpoint, I mean what is really the guy’s motivation to play, and really work hard to get better to play for his team in his senior year?

“Ultimately, every player should have the opportunity to make official visits, to develop relationships.”

Meyer has been even more outspoken opposing an early NSD.

“I hear the reasoning is because there’s so many decommitments,” Meyer said. “What the hell does that mean? So because 18-year-olds – excuse me, 17-year-olds – are decommitting, let’s give them a legal document so they can’t decommit? That’s not very smart. Young people have a right to choose where they want to go to school. Period. Let them decommit a hundred times. That’s why they’re called 17-year-olds.

“So I don’t understand, whether it’s lazy, whether it’s, you know, I don’t understand why this big push. Now they want to move junior, like have official visits in their junior year. There’s some kids that don’t even have ACT scores. They’re bodies are gaining 18 pounds. Why not move it back to their sophomore year? It’s bizarre. You’re going to see more transfers and more mistakes made in recruiting than ever if they keep pushing this thing up.”

Chaos, I tells ‘ya!  And that can’t be good for Alabama and Ohio State.

By the way, Nick’s doing great in the character evaluation department.  He just needs more time.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

This is why they pay Nick Saban the big bucks.

This one’s something of a tough call:  a redshirt freshman defensive back who led Alabama in tackles on kickoff coverage has had an arrest warrant issued for felony aggravated assault.

He’s productive enough not to be a transfer candidate, but obviously not a superstar yet.  Does Saban have time for this shit?  Or does he need the roster spot to make room for another five-star recruit?  Decisions, decisions…

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Nick Saban Rules

If you can beat ’em, join ’em.

Nick Saban just hired the former Ole Miss offensive coordinator who had quite the resume against the ‘Bama defense.

While at Ole Miss, Werner helped orchestrate back-to-back upsets over Alabama, beating the Crimson Tide 23-17 in 2014 and 43-37 in 2015. He nearly made it three straight games last season, coaching Ole Miss’ offense to a 24-3 lead. However, a second-half comeback allowed Alabama to leave Oxford, Miss., with a 48-43 victory. The 522 yards Werner’s offense put up against the Tide during last season’s game were the most by any opponent all year.

Once again, Saban stays ahead of the game on the analyst front.  I’m guessing he’ll have a few choice nuggets to add for prep against his former program.

Should I bother to point out that Kirby Smart, who certainly faced the brunt of Werner’s game planning in the Tide’s two losses, went hunting for an analyst of his very own and managed to grab the former Minnesota offensive coordinator whose offense managed to finish within fifty-five spots from Ole Miss in offensive yards per play last season.  (Even Chaney managed a better finish than that.)  Nah, I guess not.

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It was an innocent question.

Alabama’s spring practice may have started, but when it comes to media relations, Nick Saban is already in mid-season form.

“But philosophically, I don’t know where you came up with where we go to ball control. That’s not what we do. The New England Patriots threw the ball over 60-something percent of the time, which is more than we threw it. So, where does that assumption come from or do you do what everybody else in the media does — create some shit and throw it on the wall and see what sticks, which is what I see happening everywhere? And the people who scream the loudest kind of get the attention and then we pass some rule that everybody has to live with or some law and the consequences mess up a lot of other things. Do it all the time. We’re doing it right now.”

Saban then went off on a tangent, raising concerns about high school coaches being prohibited from working summer camps, although the NCAA rule to which he was referring was unclear.

Eventually, he got back to his original point.

“It’ll mess everything up,” Saban said. “It’s the way it goes. It’s the way it goes in the world of politics and the way it goes. The same thing with you. ‘We’re going to be more conservative and ball-control offense.’ I never said that. No one in this building  ever said that. So where did you come up with that? Did you have a dream about it or what? If we caught some passes in the national championship game — we had guys open — we wouldn’t have had to control the ball. We would have had to score more touchdowns.”

Methinks that Clemson loss hasn’t set too well with the man.

By the way, that Coke bottle’s looking good. Does Saban use the same Coke for each presser, or do they change bottles?

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