Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

“That’s the thing that separates the men from the boys.”

Admit it – there’s a tinny little voice in the back of your head that occasionally pipes up and says “Kirby was just running Saban’s defense at Alabama.  How do you know what he can do on his own?”.

This probably won’t do much to shut that little voice up.

The first thing to know about Alabama’s defense is that it’s Saban’s defense. Always has been and always will be, as long as he’s there. But he said it’s incorrect to think that he’s pressing every button, making every tweak and calling every play.

“We make changes as we go, but at its core, the system stays the same,” Saban said. “There’s so much diversity in the offenses you face now — the spread, no-huddle, four open, regular formations you always see and then people go spread out of regular formations. The key, to me, is that you know how to adjust the system to everything or at least you’re giving yourself a chance. And then the special situation things you do, whether it’s the pressures you have on third down, those are the things you’re always looking to improve on, and it has to be a little bit relative to the players you’ve got.”

Saban, despite being the face of the Alabama defense, is continually looking for assistants who challenge him and aren’t afraid to think outside the box. But at the end of the day, the buck on defense stops with him.

“People have input in all these things, and that makes the system better,” he said. “But I at least know how to fix it when it goes wrong, and I can help them fix it and help them adapt to things. My role is more to help them prepare the game plan of doing what we have to do and, philosophically, how we need to play. And then I try to help teach the players where I can in certain areas.”

It’s the risk you run when you hire someone without previous head coaching experience.  (Which has been the case with four of the last five head coaches at Georgia, by the way.)  You can go on all you want about how impressive the resume looks, but until you’ve seen the new guy in action, you never know.  When it comes to the product on the field, we’re all hoping it doesn’t turn out to be a year of “what would Saban do?”, but right now, hope is all it is.


UPDATE:  Then again, Kevin Scarbinsky says Kirby won the spring game debut contest with Saban.  You gotta start somewhere.


UPDATE #2:  Kirby has a rebuttal.

“I always felt like, one of the niches is if you can recruit the SEC you can be a head coach in the SEC,” Smart said. “I had that. I might not have a conference championship or a national championship as a head coach, but I had the recruiting factor. Which is critical in this league.”

Which is nothing to sneer at… but couldn’t Richt make a similar argument when he was hired?  That in turn leads to this Nick Saban question:

“He’s asked from time to time, ‘What’s going on? Why don’t they win more?'” said Smart, recalling questions posed about Georgia by Alabama coach Nick Saban. To which he replied, “I don’t know that. I’ll never know. They won good, they just didn’t win big.”

Maybe it takes more than being an outstanding recruiter.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

Spring games as a point of pride, and something more

Read this piece about the history of Alabama’s A-Day game in the Saban era, and I think you’ll get a sense of why Kirby Smart wants the numbers up big time this Saturday.

The attendance marks aren’t just a point of pride. It’s all part of the massive recruiting pitch a few bus loads of prospects and families will see. That was a point Saban subtly made last week in a news conference pitch to fans requesting their presence at A-Day.

If Georgia draws a bigger crowd than Alabama this year, will that make for a new pitch on the recruiting trail?  You tell me.


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

But I thought robots never died.

Saban acknowledges he’s getting Spurriered on the recruiting trail these days.

“I’m not looking to get out. I’m really not, even though I know that’s going to start being talked about more now,” said Saban, who’s entering his 10th season at Alabama. “What I have noticed is that it’s the first time people are starting to say to recruits, ‘He won’t be there the whole time you’re there,’ because of my age. Does that really impact your ability to stay good? I don’t know. But if it did, it would make you say, ‘Well, what’s up with this?’ My philosophy is that I’m going to be here for as long as I feel like I can be effective, impact the players, help them be more successful in life and continue to have a successful program.”

Honestly, I don’t know what the big concern there is.  After all, whenever Saban walks away, Junior will be waiting in the wings to provide a seamless transition for Alabama football.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

Did Nick Saban just take his first subtle shot across Kirby Smart’s bow?

Sure sounds like he did to me:

Alabama’s A-Day spring game has produced three crowds in excess of 90,000 since Saban’s arrival in 2007, and every recent A-Day crowd had surpassed 70,000 until last year’s game had 65,175.

Saban said Wednesday that the spring game remains important to players and urged fans to turn out.

“It’s something that we’ve been special at,” Saban said, “and I think other people are trying to sort of copycat to make their game a big thing so they can say they had the most people at the spring game and all that…”

Unless you think that’s a shot at Greg McGarity, I suppose…  Personally speaking, I’ll wait to take any shots until I see how well prepared the athletic department is to handle an enormous crowd on G-Day.  The best answer to a charge of social climbing is to act like you’ve been there before.


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

Information wants to be free.

This is what you get when you try to put a hold on bad news.

University of Alabama defensive back Tony Brown is facing an indefinite suspension from the NCAA, The Tuscaloosa News has learned.

The university has appealed and is awaiting a decision.

UA coach Nick Saban acknowledged Brown was “facing suspensions” during the veteran coach’s introductory spring press conference in March.

“When I get the final data on that I’ll definitely let you know,” Saban said.

I guess we’ll find out together.

If only Nick had more than three days to respond to a FOIA request… oh, wait.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, The NCAA

“It just allows us to play on the same field as Alabama and everybody else.”

The Sabanization of Georgia continues apace.

Except I’m not talking about the University of Georgia.  I’m talking about Georgia’s state government.

An amendment attached to an unrelated records bill passed by the state House and Senate late Tuesday states that “athletic departments and related private athletic associations” will have 90 days to process open records requests. The lone exception to this would be to access salaries for “nonclerical staff,” which includes coaches and other various athletic department staffers.

Senate Bill 323 with the attached amendment will be sent to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk for a signature.

This law would change how the University of Georgia operates, given that current law states that it must provide access to existing public records within three business days of it being requested, or the agency must give a timetable for how long it will take to produce the records.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, is a co-sponsor of the amendment and said the intention is to add extra time in returning open record requests as other states and athletic departments are afforded.

“This will help the startup programs, this applies to every single intercollegiate program in this state, every university from the University of Georgia  … [to] any intercollegiate sport at a D2, D3 school,” Ehrhart said. “It just allows us to play on the same field as  Alabama and everybody else.”

This is absurd.  And what is with this “us” shit, anyway?  I must have missed seeing Ehrhart in the coaches’ booth last season.

What it’s really about is shielding B-M from having to say much about you know what.

National Signing Day, when high school athletes can sign National Letters of Intent with universities to play college athletics, occurred this year on Feb. 3. The Atlanta Journal Constitution published a lengthy story on how much money Georgia’s athletic department spent on recruiting-related expenses since Smart took the job on Feb. 21.

“At that recruiting time of year they get absolutely inundated with people wanting to have that recruiting information and it’s not a level playing field because Georgia, our athletic associations, are private in and of themselves and they don’t have that capacity, so this just allows that type of level playing field,” Ehrhart said.

Ehrhart claims this amendment won’t restrict information.

Do I really need to ask the question when can you tell a politician is making things up?

Maybe we just need to offer the Georgia governorship to Nick Saban.  Resistance appears to be futile.  Besides, doesn’t every Georgian deserve a level playing field?


Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Nick Saban Rules, Political Wankery

Ziggy Saban?

I find this somewhat disturbing in a kind of “resistance is futile” sense.

Your mileage may vary, of course.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules