Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

Only at Alabama could a former Recruiter of the Year be brought in as an “intern.”

And only at Alabama could you internally promote an intern (at least, someone you call an intern) to take the place of one of the best recruiters in the nation and not miss a beat.

Now that’s depth.  And that’s how Nick Saban stays one step ahead of the game.

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“I guess it’s more about scoring points now than playing defense now.”

We’re living in the time of Nick Saban’s worst nightmare.

Just look at Alabama. This is a team that dominated college football with a very traditional — and successful — offense. But Nick Saban’s defenses have struggled with the spread recently. Johnny Manziel and his high-flying Texas A&M Aggies lit up Alabama for an average of 523 yards and 35.5 points in games in 2012 and 2013. Against Auburn and that uptempo Malzahn spread the last two years, Alabama has surrendered 1,023 yards and 78 points.

Alabama went 2-2 in those four games.

Take it a step further and look at Alabama’s two-game losing streak in the postseason where Oklahoma (spread and tempo) and Ohio State (spread) combined to score 87 points and reeled off 966 yards.

Running quarterbacks, spread and tempo have been weaknesses for Saban’s defenses, so he added all three to his offense this year and watched Alabama set all sorts of offensive records and average 484.5 yards per game (most during his Alabama tenure) and 36.9 points a contest.

“Three or four years ago, Nick Saban was talking about how he didn’t really like [uptempo offense], and the disadvantages to it,” Oregon defensive back Juwaan Williams said. “He’s making the evolution himself.”

Saban doesn’t want to evolve, damn it.  He wants to accumulate more talent than anybody else and then beat the crap out of you with it.  He doesn’t want to win by having to outscore the other guy’s attack.

The problem he’s running into is that he doesn’t have a better angle on defending the spread than anybody else.  And while losing a game or two isn’t a big deal for most college football programs, it’s brutal for an SEC West team expected to make appearances in the CFP annual routines.  That razor-thin margin for error is what’s forcing him to experiment on offense.  Which in turn is an admission of sorts that what Alabama’s been doing on defense isn’t working as consistently as it used to.

It’s a problem across the conference, of course.  It’s just magnified in Tuscaloosa.  And it makes me wonder, if ‘Bama continues to adapt to defending the spread, how Saban defends Georgia’s power running game when his team comes to Athens this season.

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

Right now, aiight?

I know it’s Nick Saban, which means it doesn’t mean a whole helluva lot over the long haul, but you can’t tell me he’s enjoying this.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban made his annual visit to a Senior Bowl practice Tuesday, and he did so knowing that Lane Kiffin was still his offensive coordinator.

How much longer that’s the case is not known. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that Kiffin was a “front-runner” for the offensive coordinator job with the San Francisco 49ers, and Saban could not say for certain if the former Tennessee head coach would be back for a second season in Tuscaloosa.

“I can’t say that right now,” Saban told reporters in the Mobile suburb of Fairhope. “I know Lane is committed to us right now, and he’s doing the best he can to help recruit and do the things we need to do to have a better team next year. We’re hopeful that will continue.”

Nick Saban doesn’t do that hope thing real well.  I bet it’s a lot of fun for him to try to sell that to recruits.  Right now, that is.

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

Nice legacy you got there, kid.

Three weeks ago, Altee Tenpenny was telling the world that Alabama was “… where I plan on making my legacy.”

Yesterday, he announced via Twitter he was leaving Alabama “to start a new chapter.”

You can’t defeat roster management, son.  You can only hope to contain it.

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Friday morning buffet

Hungry?  The chafing dishes have plenty of recruiting stuff.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Fleeing Tuscaloosa

Wow, the hits just keep on coming for Nick Saban.

The off-season coaching attrition continues at the University of Alabama has BOL has learned that outside linebackers’ coach Lance Thompson will accept a job offer from Auburn coach Gus Malzahn as part of new Tigers’ defensive coordinator Will Muschamp’s defensive staff.

Dude is another helluva recruiter who’s gone.  And to Auburn?  Whoa.

Nick Saban doesn’t have time for that shit, but he’ll have to make some now.

And this last month before signing day just got very interesting indeed.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Nick Saban Rules

Saban, gettin’ schooled by Corch

Chris Brown, as usual, has an excellent piece on how Ohio State’s offense has evolved away from what Urban Meyer was doing at Florida.  The part in there that really caught my eye was how Meyer and his offensive coordinator, Tom Herman, schooled Saban and Smart in the national semi-final match.

The one defense that shut the Buckeyes down this season was Virginia Tech’s.  Here’s what Bud Foster did.

… in Week 2, when Virginia Tech employed a “Bear” or “Double Eagle” front, in which the defensive line pinches down and lines up with a nose tackle over the center and defensive linemen over each of the offensive guards. This strategy effectively shut down Ohio State’s inside zone running game, as the Buckeyes managed just 108 yards rushing on 40 attempts, with 70 of those yards coming from quarterback J.T. Barrett, who’d taken over in the preseason for the injured Miller, and who’s since given the reins to Cardale Jones after suffering a season-ending injury of his own. Thiswasn’t the first time a “Bear” front had proven successful against a Meyer offense, and Ohio State’s coaches knew they would need to find answers to adjust.

Guess what happened when Alabama went to a similar alignment.

The sweep is a perfect complement to OSU’s inside zone because as soon as the defense begins pinching down, Herman can call this play to get the ball to the perimeter of the defense, with several athletic linemen out in front. It’s worked: When Alabama shifted its defensive linemen down into a type of Bear front in an effort to stop OSU’s inside runs in the Sugar Bowl, Herman called for a version of the Oregon sweep, and the play went for an 85-yard Elliott touchdown — the biggest score of the game, and maybe of the Buckeyes’ season.

Sounds like somebody was better prepared that day than somebody else was.

 

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics, Urban Meyer Points and Stares