Tag Archives: Nick Saban

Nick Saban on SEC schedule

Alabama head coach Nick Saban watches from the field during Alabama's A-Day NCAA college football spring game on Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban watches from the field during Alabama’s A-Day NCAA college football spring game on Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama football coach Nick Saban stopped by Huntsville on the first stop of the Crimson Carvan on Tuesday.

He spoke to the media before he went to talk with the fans. The hot topic was the SEC schedule and how it will change in 2016.

Here’s the full story.

The gist is will the permanent rivals (Alabama vs. Tennessee) be gone. Saban thinks so.

What are your thoughts on these rivalry games. Should the SEC keep them? Or do you want to see more different teams each year?

More Saban on the defensive line

Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks with members of the media after an NCAA college spring football practice on Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks with members of the media after an NCAA college spring football practice on Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama football coach Nick Saban went on a memorable rant a week ago about the defensive line depth.

He was asked about what appears to be depth on the defensive line. Saban took offense to the question.

What came out of that was Saban’s concern with the defensive line. It is a concern, but he didn’t want to make so much out of it and criticized the way he answered the question.

He’s been asked by friends and peers about it since all the reports game out. So he hasn’t forgotten.

Saban took another question he didn’t like Wednesday night, but didn’t go off. He did sarcastically say it was a good question. Then he went back to the defensive line question he didn’t like.

“It’s almost as good (a question) as the one where the defensive line is good on paper,” Saban said. “I’ve been getting asked that everywhere I go like we’ve got a bad defensive line. We don’t have a bad defensive line. They’re doing fine. It’s the way the question got answered: it seems like on paper. I don’t think we’ve ever won a game on paper, made a sack on paper, pressured the quarterback, got a tackle for loss, butted a guy that’s trying to block us in the throat and locked him out and made a good tackle … on paper? I haven’t seen any of those on paper. I’m looking for that on the field. If I see it on the field, I’ll let you know.” 

Depth at defensive line

The defensive linemen at work during spring practice.

First off, check out my main story on the Alabama football team in Wednesday’s TimesDaily and Decatur Daily. It’s a look at safety Landon Collins coming to the forefront as the secondary leader.

Then check out my notebook, looking at quarterback Alec Morris punting on the side and how kicker Adam Griffith is doing.

Also in the notebook is something about young players worrying about the depth chart at this early stage.

Coach Nick Saban brought that up on his own, so it was on his mind. A follow up question about depth on what “appears” to be a deep defensive line set him off.

His reaction shows the concern about the depth on the defensive line, and that talking about depth charts in general makes him mad.

“We lost two starters there, is that right? What does appear mean? It just means you’ve dreamed about it and it’s there?”

“On paper? What it looks like on paper? We’ve never seen these guys play or seen them take on an SEC lineman. But it appears.”

“That’s how we form public opinion because something appears to be that way and everyone believes it.”

So, it appears that there’s a lot of work the defensive linemen must do before they are game ready.

Spring practice going well, Saban in fine form

Alabama's Nick Saban speaks during his Spring season press conference, Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at the Mal Moore Athletic Facility in Tuscaloosa, Ala.. (AP Photo)

Alabama’s Nick Saban speaks during his Spring season press conference at the Mal Moore Athletic Facility in Tuscaloosa, Ala.. (AP Photo)

Spring practice for the Alabama football team is going well. How do I know?

You look around to see and listen to your surroundings. That’s tough when all but 15 minutes of individual drills each practice are closed to the public.

Then you read the body and verbal language of those involved. Since coach Nick Saban keeps  his assistant coaches away from the media, you read him. And, while he’s known for his stoic stance, he wears his feelings on his sleeve.

His first press conference after spring break Monday night was prime example of this. And it was a glimpse into the how things are going.

Saban to media: “Y’all have a good spring break?”

Random TV reporter: “Didn’t have one.”

Saban: “You really appreciate them when you really work hard.”

This is when Saban looks down, smiles and does everything he can from busting up laughing. He got off a good zinger and most didn’t catch it. He was in a good mood.

A print reporter: “Why are you looking down here?”

Saban: “I don’t know. I’m wondering.”

He glossed over the slam and went into his opening monologue. Saban pointed out that he liked the work of the players and how well things are going. Just from that exchange above I believe him.

Different side of Nick Saban

Alabama head coach Nick Saban talks to the media during an NCAA college football news conference in New Orleans. (AP Photo)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban talks to the media during an NCAA college football news conference in New Orleans. (AP Photo)

Alabama football coach Nick Saban sat down with beat writers Wednesday to chat about all things Crimson Tide.

He talked spring football, the 10-second rule (read about that here), recruiting and more. This was different than any other interview session I’ve been in since I started on the beat last summer.

Saban was more informative than usual and laid back. The reason? No TV cameras. It was just writers like in the old days.

Coaches are alway more forthcoming and enjoyable to work with in that setting. He even noted that and acknowledge the many people who have derogatory things to say about him.

What was the most intriguing part of the conversation was when he went off-the-record, journalism talk for not quoting the person. Getting inside his thoughts on things was interesting.

The biggest thing that stood out was the burden of keeping face was lifted off his shoulder. Saban was actually a human being, very funny and emotional. There was no robotic stance you normally see him during press conferences.

If Saban would be like that all the time, his public image would improve. People would understand him more. If he I was his PR guy, I would definitely recommend that approach. 

Nick Saban on the 10-second rule

Alabama head coach Nick Saban seems frustrated near the end of a loss to Auburn during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban seems frustrated near the end of a loss to Auburn during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Alabama football coach Nick Saban talked to the media about many topics Wednesday, but the 10-second rule remains the hot subject.

Here’s Saban’s full answer about where the rule is and if it’s going to pass for this season or not. Let’s just say he’s passionate about the rule.

“I really don’t know. I get some kind of way, everybody seems to know what I think. Everybody seems to know what I’m thinking. Everybody seems to know all kinds of stuff about me without ever talking to me, without know the circumstances about what happened.”

“Look, I had nothing to do with the 10-second rule. I was asked by the rules committee and the officials to come and speak to the rules committee relative to pace of play. Were there play safety issues involved in that and is there a game administrative problem with that. So I went and did that. I didn’t vote on the committee. I didn’t offer any solutions to the problems. I just not just gave my opinion, but presented a lot statistical data that would support the fact that pace of play is creating a lot longer games and a lot more plays in games.”

“Now I know a lot of you say there’s no statistical information that says if you play 88 plays in the game you have a better chance to get hurt if you play 65 plays in a game. Over 12 games that 250 plays, approximately. That’s four games more that you are playing. So everything we’ve every done in the NCAA has been to limit exposure. So we cut back spring practice. We say you got to practice in shorts. We say you have to practice so many days in shells. We make fall camp, we cut back how many days you can practice in pads, how many scrimmages we can have. So many acclimation days. Can’t have consecutive two-a-days. We have all these rules to limit exposure. But the data says there are seven players who get hurt in the game to every one that gets hurt in practice. That’s a fact. OK. We are going to limit practice, which is exactly what the NFL did last year to no avail helping injuries. They actually had more injuries, I think, when everybody is getting hurt in the game. Not everybody, but 7-to-1. The game is longer and more plays. And the pace of the game is faster. I’m just one that doesn’t thinks that the officials should not control the pace of the game. That’s what I think.”

“Because that’s a player safety issue, too. To me football was not intended to be a continues game. Soccer is, rugby is. Football was never intended to be that. Football play has been played for a long time, and there’s always a little bit between plays because of the physical nature and the contact that’s involved.”

“There’s actually a study of Virginia Tech players who played 61 plays in a game, eight players over 10 games. How may sub-conconcussive hits did they get to their head in each game? Well, if you took another team that goes no-huddle and averages 88 plays a game instead of 61 plays a game, how many sub-concussive hits would they get? Is it wrong to assume that the right tackle and the five-technique aren’t going to hit that many more plays in the game, or are they going to get out of each other’s way?”

“I personally think it is a player’s safety issue. We are the only game that the college game is longer than the pro game. An NBA game’s longer than a college basketball game. Well, in the NFL, the lowest team averages 59 plays, the highest team in the 70s. And in college, the lowest team is like 62 plays a game and the highest team is 90.”

“Not only is there more plays in college, there’s a greater deviation in the plays. So how do you prepare the player to play the different type of games that he’s going to play in, and what does that do to him in practice and what’s the cumulative effect of that.”

“In the NFL, all the official does is stand over the ball until the officials are ready to call the game. That’s all the day. Saying all that to say this, the reason that they came up with the 10-second rule, which I had nothing to do with, was the fact that they used to stand over the ball for 10-12 seconds when we had the 25-second clock before they started the chop the clock to start the 25-second clock.”

“So they figured why not do the same with the 40-second clock. And when they actually studied the no-huddle teams, they only snapped the ball an average of four times a game inside of 10 seconds.”

“You’re not really affecting how they play, but what keeps you from being able to ever take a defensive player out, whether he’s hurt, pre-existing condition, whatever it is, is the fact that they might snap the ball.”

“So you can’t do anything. You’ve got to call timeout to get a guy out. And if you tell a guy to get down, that’s really against the rules, and they boo him out of the park.”

“For all of you out there that know what I’m thinking and the fact that I’m trying to create an advantage for the defense. I’m not trying to create an advantage for the defense. I don’t even think we need an advantage. Why do we need an advantage? If you look at the statistics, we’ve been playing better than most.”

“But it is an advantage to go fast, and I can understand exactly why coaches that go fast want to do it. It’s an advantage. There’s no question. And it’s really who’s creating a competitive advantage then.”

An update with Nick Saban

Alabama Coach Nick Saban is pushing to slow down offenses. (AP Photo/)

Alabama Coach Nick Saban is pushing to slow down offenses. (AP Photo)

Alabama football coach Nick Saban met up with the beat writers Wednesday to catch up with what’s going on with the team headed into spring practice.

My full spring preview will be this weekend. I’ll link it when it’s published. He also addressed the 10-second rule more. I’ll have that up in a bit. Here’s some quick updates.

The reason why running back Dee Hart left the team was because he graduated with more eligibility left. Hart was not going to be used as a running back with the Crimson Tide, but wanted to find a place where he would get playing time.

“When we finish the bowl game, I meet with all the players,” Saban said. “At times, there’s fifth year guys that graduate and decide they don’t want to come back or whatever. Then there’s guys that can graduate in May and have an opportunity to go someplace else and be immediately eligible. And that was Dee Hart’s situation. That’s what he said he wanted to do. His role on our team, he’s done a good job as a special teams player, but he wanted to try and go some place where he could have a role as a running back. And we were supportive of his decision to do that.”

There are no other roster moves.

Linebacker Xzavier Dickson‘s suspension for the Sugar Bowl was only for the game. He’s been working with the team in the offseason.

“Xzavier Dickson’s done fine,” Saban said. “The other guy got suspended for good (Alvin Kamara). Alvin’s not in school any more. By his choice. But he was suspended from the team before that.”

Saban said there will be no rush a starting quarterback. He warned the media not to ask over and over.

Nick Saban on 10-second rule

Alabama coach Nick Saban waves as he leaves the field. (AP Photo)

Alabama coach Nick Saban waves as he leaves the field. (AP Photo)

I wasn’t able to get to Georgia on Friday for Alabama football coach Nick Saban‘s first public comments on the proposed rule to slow down the uptempo teams.

So here’s a link to read the transcript. There’s some interesting ideas in there, but the rule seams to be tinkering where no changes are needed.

What are your thoughts. Do you agree with the rule and Saban, or not. Let me know on the blog.

Key pieces to the defensive puzzle

Rashaan Evans is a key player in the 2014 recruiting class.

Rashaan Evans is a key player in the 2014 recruiting class.

If you missed my Sunday story on the TimesDaily and Decatur Daily, check it out here. It’s my grading of the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation for the Alabama football team.

Sure, it has talent, but how do these players supplement the current team now and in the future.

Two key players who were signed were linebackers Rashaan Evans and Shaun Hamilton. They are part of the evolution of faster defenders to handle spread offenses.

“We’re excited about Rashaan, who not only is a fantastic athlete,and exactly what we’re looking for in terms of the more athletic,fast-twitch edge player who can rush but also has great character, is a really good person, and I think will provide leadership in our program that will be beneficial to us being successful in the future,” coach Nick Saban said.

“We really need to have guys like Shaun Dion,” Saban said. “He’s a really good, physical, balance, body control, athletic guy who can take on blockers and has range as a player. Inside linebackers are an area that we thought we didn’t have a lot of depth at. He’s a very bright guy, which I think that’s a position where calls are made and responsibility for leadership are necessary. And he’s very strong in those two areas as well.”

Also, check out my Saturday story on how the Crimson Tide must down reprogram all the elite athletes they have signed. 

Shaun Hamilton is a key piece to the 2014 recruiting class.

Shaun Hamilton is a key piece to the 2014 recruiting class.

Saban gets on McCarron

Alabama Coach Nick Saban discusses the signing day successes of 2014, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, at the Mal Moore Athletic Facility in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama Coach Nick Saban discusses the signing day successes of 2014, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, at the Mal Moore Athletic Facility in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama football coach Nick Saban was mad about former quarterback AJ McCarron saying the players who didn’t work hard last season were distractions.

The overall theme of that is the entitlement of the high-end athletes the Crimson Tide brings in. That’s addressed in my story in Saturday’s TimesDaily and Decatur Daily.

Saban had more to say about young players who were upset with the lack of playing time.

“This is the transition every young man has to go through,” he said. “It’s natural for some of these guys to be a little frustrated. We’ve had it every year we’ve been here when they don’t have the success they hope to have. We want everybody to have goals and aspirations for everything they want to accomplish here. We just want to them to be realistic about what they have to do to accomplish those goals, and to understand the competition here is actually going to help them be successful and help them to be better.”

“I’m not saying there weren’t some young guys who weren’t frustrated with how much they got to play, relative to what their expectation was; it was no different than it was every year,” Saban said. “But I am saying, if that bothered any of our older players who had leadership qualities, who should be setting an example for the young guys, and actually help with them, because when they were freshmen they had the same issues. I remember when AJ came up in my office all upset because he was the third-string quarterback after the first scrimmage. So, you know, sometimes we forget what it’s like to be a teenager.”

And check out my notebook, looking at Saban’s favorite recruiting class,  RB Bo Scarbrough and QB David Cornwell.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) looks for a receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Chattanooga in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo)

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) looks for a receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Chattanooga in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo)

Saban honored by The V Foundation

Alabama coach Nick Saban continues to shake up his staff. (AP Photo)

Alabama coach Nick Saban to be honored by The V Foundation. (AP Photo)

Alabama football coach Nick Saban, Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey and Indiana men’s basketball coach Tom Crean will be honored the ninth annual Dick Vitale Gala.

The event on May 16 in Sarasota, Fla., is put on by The V Foundation for Cancer Research as a celebration of $1.7 million raised in 2013. The organization also toped $10 million raised in eight years.

Net proceeds of the event will be awarded to pediatric cancer research and related programs through The V Foundation.

Saban at coaching convention, notes

Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke at the coaches' convention on Monday.

Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke at the coaches’ convention on Monday.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban spoke Monday at the AFCA convention. He was a hot ticket because there are reports of lines to get in and coaches listening in the hallway.

Here are some interesting quotes of his that were Tweeted out by those in attendance.

 

Siskey honored

Tyler Siskey was named the FootballScoop.com Director of Player Personnel of the Year. Siskey won the award in its first year.

He’s in his first season with the Crimson Tide. Siskey is a key person in the recruiting process, identifying and securing talent.

Filling vacancies

Saban continues to move quickly to fill the vacancies on his staff. He interviewed Georgia defensive line coach Chris Wilson on Monday to replace Chris Rumph, who left last week for Texas.

Nick Saban takes shot at media

Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks to reporters after practice for an upcoming NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013. Alabama plays Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 2, 2014. (AP Photo)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks to reporters after practice for an upcoming NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013. Alabama plays Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 2, 2014. (AP Photo)

NEW ORLEANS — The best part of Alabama football coach Nick Saban‘s final press conference Thursday on the eve the Sugar Bowl was the end.

He was asked about his opportunity to be a guest analyst for ESPN for the BCS title game.

Saban started out answering the question normally, but turned it into a shot at the media. He couldn’t keep a straight face as he said the second half of the below quote.

“Well, you know, to be honest, I think it’s really good exposure for our program to be able to be involved in some of those kinds of things and actually be able to have an opportunity to express your beliefs, and you all have your beliefs and I certainly respect your beliefs, in terms of how you think things should be done,” Saban said. “And so all of a sudden I get to get on the other side and I get to say how I think things should be done and get an opportunity to be just like you, which is really what I’ve always wanted to be.”

Saban was a little grumpy

Alabama head coach Nick Saban runs defensive back practice drills during Alabama's Sugar Bowl preparation football practice, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban runs defensive back practice drills during Alabama’s Sugar Bowl preparation football practice, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

First off, check out my story in Wednesday’s TimesDaily and Decatur Daily about about Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley being named a consensus all-American.

Here’s another story talking about coach Nick Saban not wanting to talk Texas and his contract.

When he was asked about his reaction to all the speculation last week, he wouldn’t give an answer.

“I think I’ve already made a reaction to that,” Saban said. “Don’t you watch ESPN? Don’t you see what they put down across the bottom line? That’s my reaction to it. I don’t have anymore reactions to it. I think it’s kind of over, so why do we want to talk about that? Can we look forward?”

Then later he was asked about all the travel he does while recruiting and how he keeps busy sitting around in planes and airports. This is when it really got good.

“I take a computer with me and watch film, watch recruits, watch Oklahoma, watch juniors that are coming up next year,” Saban said. “Travel doesn’t wear on me as long as I get home at a decent hour. I guess the only tough night I had is I didn’t get home until — plane broke down in St. Louis — and I didn’t get home one night until 2 in the morning. And so I’m not like you all. I can’t sleep in and take a break the next day, decide when I want to go to work, when I want to write a column and all that. I have to show up at 7:30 the next day and go see the next guy that’s already on the schedule.”

The laughter came from the media since we all work seven days a week for long hours without a $7 million a year contract. You would think he would be happier with nearly a $2 million raise because there was a rumor he would leave, probably started by his own agent to drive up the market price.

One reporter said he would be in Saban’s office at 7:30 a.m. every day if he was paid $7 million. One said he would sleep there. We would all do it for $1 million.

Big money for Saban

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, right, is congratulated by head coach Nick Saban, left, as Jeff Purinton, football media relations director, watches after McCarron won the Maxwell Award during the College Football Awards show in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, right, is congratulated by head coach Nick Saban, left, as Jeff Purinton, football media relations director, watches after McCarron won the Maxwell Award during the College Football Awards show in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Alabama football coach Nick Saban is expected to receive at least $7 million a year, according to unnamed sources by Tuscaloosa News.

His new deal agreed to Friday night must be certified by Alabama’s board of trustees, but makes him the only $7 million college football coach.

According to Forbes.com, Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints), Bill Belichick (New England Patriots), Jeff Fisher (St. Louis Rams), Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs) and Mike Shanahan (Washington Redskins) are the only football coaches making $7 million or more.

Saban was already the highest-paid coach in college football with a $5,395,852 salary and maximum bonuses of $700,000.