Category Archives: 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

Le program, c’est moi.

Oh, look.  It’s another Nick Saban rant.

“One of these days when I’m finished coaching at Alabama, I’ll write an authorized book,” Saban said at Thursday’s news conference. “Because there’s really only one expert on my life, and guess who that is? Me. And there won’t be any misinformation, there won’t be any false statements, there won’t be any hearsay, there won’t be any expert analysis from somebody else. It will be the real deal.

“But I’m not really ready for that to happen. And you know, it’s a little amazing to me the timing of all this happening right when we’re starting camp. I just want everybody out there and all our fans to know it won’t be a distraction to us, and it’s never going to get discussed again.

“But since I’m not finished yet at Alabama, we’re not writing any books yet. But when we decide to write an authorized book, it will have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

So help him Bear.

I get that he’s pissed off about someone making a buck off his name without permission (and, no, I’m not going there), but needing to assure the fans that “it won’t be a distraction to us”?  Really?  Anyone think the players are losing sleep over somebody writing a book about Nick Saban?

Then again, this is the guy who was worried about how Alabama people were going to react to his appearance in a movie as the head coach of LSU – which he was at the time of the events depicted in the movie.

History is hard, I guess.

I know…  Forget it, Jake.  It’s Tuscaloosa.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Whoa oh Alabama

Nick Saban gives sex advice.

It’s everything you might expect… and more.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Nick Saban’s energy crisis

When it comes to football, nobody is more obsessed with sweating the small stuff than Alabama’s head coach.  So, I’m fascinated with the attention he’s paid to Junior’s decision to speed up the Tide’s offense last season and the rather broad hints Saban’s making that some of that may have played into the defense’s collapse at the end of the year.

“If we’re going to be a no-huddle team like we were last year, I think we have to manage the season better with our team,” Saban said, “because I think at the end of the season last year, we ran out of gas a little bit.”

Now understand, while the pace may have been breakneck by Saban’s standards, it was middle of the pack by FBS ones – Alabama ranked 72nd nationally last season in plays run per game.  But that’s enough for Saban to draw his own conclusions.

“Which is like a couple, three more games,” Saban said. “And our players showed it. So we’re going to have to do a better job of keeping our team where they need to be so that we can finish strong.”

What’s really interesting about this, when you parse his remarks, is that he’s more concerned about muddying his team’s identity than the energy level.  Read this and see what you think:

“It’s interesting that we set records last year on offense, passing, our total offense, points,” Saban said. “I’m talking about records all time. But yet, there was something that we lost in doing that. Before we would just line up and physically dominate the line of scrimmage and the other team knew what we were going to do. It really wasn’t a secret but they couldn’t stop us.

“So, even though we had much more balance, much more diversity, I think we lost a little bit of that. And I think it’s important that we sort of gain that back so that we are a physical, relentless, competitive-type team that nobody wants to play. But we play with that kind of toughness because that’s been the trademark. That’s help us have the sort of success that we’ve had. So I’m a little apprehensive about giving up that quality and not having that identity as a team, especially in a league that is sort of built on those kind of intangibles.”

The irony here, at least for me, is you can make a valid argument Georgia’s 2014 offense had the identity that Saban believes last year’s Alabama’s squad lacked.  Despite running more than five fewer plays per game than did ‘Bama, Georgia managed the best average yards per offensive play in the conference, and led the conference in scoring.  Even though it played one less game, Georgia outrushed Alabama by about 450 total yards, and almost by a yard per carry.

The big question now is what Saban does to counter what he perceives as the flaws in Alabama’s game last season.  Does he instruct Kiffin to rein it in?  Does he stick with Alabama’s version of the no-huddle and try to adapt better on defense?  You know he’s going to chew on it until he comes up with something.

In any event, it could be a story line to keep an eye on in the weeks leading up to October 3rd.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

You don’t mess with the Saban.

You will be shocked, shocked to learn that Alabama has just adjusted its COA figures.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban has called cost of attendance a “nightmare” because of varying numbers by schools and concerns the figures could be fudged. He even suggested the NFL’s salary cap could be a model to cap stipends for college players, missing the point that the Ed O’Bannon ruling won’t allow such collusion and the NFL salary cap gets negotiated by a players union that doesn’t exist in college sports.

Don’t feel too bad for Saban, though. As it turns out, Alabama’s cost of attendance stipends will rank among the leaders nationally at $5,386 for out-of-state players and $4,172 for in-state players, according to information the university provided to

This represents a 34-percent increase in Alabama’s cost of attendance figure for out-of-state students from two years ago and a 14-percent increase for in-state students.

Man, Alabama must be one expensive state to pursue a higher education.  I’m sure it’s merely a coincidence that the costs rose so dramatically just in time to pay student-athletes a stipend.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules