If you want to read anonymous coaches’ comments about some of Monday’s matchups, here you go.
Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules
There are going to be a lot of tired takes on the Saban-Smart face off over the next few days. Gentry Estes, who covered Alabama and Georgia, doesn’t write one of them.
Saban has, of course, since built one of college football’s all-time great dynasties at Alabama. The Crimson Tide has won four national titles under Saban and will play for a fifth Monday night against Georgia in Atlanta.
Yet the secret to Saban’s success at Alabama hasn’t been much of a secret. Sure, his teams are well-coached. They tend to be physical, disciplined, machine-like in execution.
But they also have better players than everyone else.
In terms of an old debate in college football circles — is it X’s and O’s or Jimmies and Joes? — Saban’s Alabama dominance has been very much about the latter. It’s not much more complicated than that.
“The plays are great, the schemes are great, all that stuff,” former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin said earlier this season. “But, look, the coaches keep coming and changing, coordinators, offense, defense, everything, Kirby (Smart). All the guys change over time. At the end of the day, it’s great players. And it’s not because it’s Alabama. It’s him. It’s because he works harder at recruiting than anybody in the country, and that’s why.
“Everybody says, ‘Oh, well, he’s got better players than everybody.’ Well, they didn’t just show up there. They came there because of how he recruited them. He outworked people and showed them why to come there and why to play for him.”
If you’re a Georgia fan, that sounds very familiar right now.
Considering who’s recruited whom, who’s coached whom, who’s coached with whom and who’s going to be coaching with whom, the post-game on the field meeting between the teams after the national championship game ought to be interesting to watch.
The Crimson Tide flew to New Orleans on Wednesday hoping for a better showing compared to the inaugural playoff after the 2014 regular season, when they entered No. 1 but dropped the Sugar Bowl semifinal to No. 4 Ohio State, 42-35.
“When we came to this game a few years ago, we were trying to balance the bowl experience with the whole playoff experience, not having done that before,” Saban said in a news conference moments after his team arrived. “Our players make the decision about curfew, what they do and how they do it, because I give the leadership of the team the opportunity to do that.
“Each year, they have been more and more serious about the game and less and less interested in the bowl experience.”
Alabama’s loss to the Buckeyes marked its only one-and-done playoff performance. The Crimson Tide have played Clemson in the past two national championship games, winning 45-40 in the title contest of the 2015 season and losing 35-31 in last season’s rematch.
Since the inception of the playoff, the Crimson Tide have ventured to New Orleans, the Dallas suburb of Arlington, the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Atlanta and Tampa, Fla.
“They’ve experienced consequences in these games, both good consequences and bad consequences,” Saban said. “They understand that after going through those experiences, the fun of it all is the success. The fun of it all is winning the game.
“You don’t always remember what you do, but you always remember whether you won or lost the game, and that’s what has changed a little bit with our players, which doesn’t disappoint me at all.”
I’m sure that’s satisfying for Saban, but it strikes me as a little grim. When you’re a man in his sixties making millions, sure, it’s a business trip first and foremost. But a youngster deserves to savor a little of the experience after a season of busting and grinding to get there.
Not just Kirby, either. The players have earned a little fun time, too.
I am so disappointed to learn that Nick Saban wasn’t the difference in the Alabama US Senate election.
Where’s your school spirit, Alabamians?
You’ll be shocked, shocked to find that adherents of The Process have a decidedly different take on the ideal size of support staffs than those who aren’t — or, perhaps more accurately, can’t afford to be.