This Coach Made Nick Saban Change The Way He Plays Football

This Coach Made Nick Saban Change The Way He Plays Football | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com

Nick Saban has etched his name into the college football record books by winning seven national titles, six of which have come since 2009 with Alabama. Saban’s Crimson Tide dynasty has actually been a tale of two styles of football with the 69-year-old head coach admitting that one head coach inspired him to change from a defense first to an offense first team. The name of that coach may surprise you since he, himself hasn’t had much personal success, but convinced Saban to make a change that has earned him three more championship rings.

Nick Saban and Bill Belichick are good friends, and one of their bonds is being defensive football coaches, with each learning the game from that side of the line of scrimmage. Football, however, has changed in recent years thanks to offensive friendly rule changes that have made running backs part of the passing game, and taken a lot of what defenses can do out of the game. For Nick Saban, after winning three national titles in 2009, 2011 and 2012 with the likes of Greg McElroy and A.J. McCarron at quarterback, how he recruited and coached at Alabama needed to change in order continue winning. That’s because while defense was still important, the ability to score points became important as well. This was a lesson taught to him in 2014 by an assistant coach named Lane Kiffin. 

Speaking with Louisiana High School Coaches Association last week, Nick Saban shared this via a video conference call:

“No-huddle fastball has changed college football … so, I changed my philosophy about five or six years ago – maybe more than that. When Lane (Kiffin) came here, we said we got to outscore (our opponents).”

If you need proof of how differently Nick Saban recruits and coaches, just watch this year’s NFL Draft where as many as seven of his players are ranked in the Top 50 of all players to be taken. Only one of those players, however, is from his defense, which only allowed 19 points per game during the 2020 season. The rest are offensive stars who tallied 48.5 points per game last year. Saban admitted last season good offenses are more important than good defenses in today’s game, but he’s never credited Lane Kiffin for helping him change the way he recruited and coached.

For me, the irony is that Kiffin, a much better assistant than head coach, was the one that Saban listened to and was willing to change for when the two worked together at Alabama. It’s also ironic that Kiffin chose to face off against Saban in the SEC when he took the job at Ole Miss last season, where he went 5-5 during his first season as the Rebels head coach. 

While losing all that offensive talent from last year’s team may put on pause his dynasty, Nick Saban can almost pick and choose the players he wants for his Crimson Tide squad, making him a national title contender almost every season. So, for all those in the SEC and all of college football who wanted to see Nick Saban go the way of the defensive dinosaurs, you can thank Lane Kiffin for giving him new life and the last three national titles that Alabama has won, cementing him as the greatest college football head coach of all time.

Now if only Saban can figure out how to turn one of his quarterbacks into a great pro since so often that is the position where so many of his players flop in the NFL. 

 


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This Coach Made Nick Saban Change The Way He Plays Football | TooAthletic.com

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