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The 2022 season for Alabama football was a rollercoaster ride that had as many twists and turns as the ‘Soaring Eagle’ at Dollywood. It resulted in many college football pundits wondering if it was the beginning of the demise of Nick Saban. I’m here to tell you it’s not.
You could easily try to write-off Saban after Alabama’s loss to LSU, or the loss to Tennessee, which some decided was the end of the Crimson Tide dynasty. Could two losses that came down to the final play of the game really be the downfall of the program? The absurdity of these claims is laughable, but that’s what gets the local sports talk show’s rolling.
Have you seen Alabama’s 2023 recruiting class? Go look it up and tell me Nick Saban is falling off. He put that class together without an offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start to build Saban’s retirement home.
Saban Hiring Kevin Steele, Tommy Rees Was Smart Move
Once Nick Saban had both of his coordinator hires in place, judging by social media, which isn’t a real place, you would’ve thought he picked up a couple JUCO assistants. Do the haters not realize that Kevin Steele will most likely be a bridge hire? Coming from Miami, Steele knows exactly what Nick Saban wants on defense and won’t have to change the calls or signals. This is Saban’s defense by the way, in case you forgot who was running it.
So the outrage about hiring Steele, a former Auburn and Tennessee interim head coach (you can laugh right here) is a bit overboard. I’ve seen the numbers from the Hurricanes defense in 2022, but I don’t know if even Saban could’ve helped Mario Cristobal last season with that talent. Now, Saban has a guy in Steele who has been with him for three previous stints and who knows every piece of the playbook. Heaven forbid this be labeled as a decent hire.
Oh, and if you were wondering if Saban made a run at Jeremy Pruitt, you’d be correct. Although it was one of those quick runs to the grocery store and back. For one item. It wasn’t going to happen, not anytime soon, as Pruitt awaits word from the NCAA on how long his punishment will be for being a horrid head coach. Pruitt is a damn fine defensive coordinator, but the Alabama schtick wasn’t going to work at Tennessee, not with some of his staff trying to do it out in the open.
So hang tight, Alabama fans. You might get the chance to see Jeremy on the sidelines again with Saban before he retires.
As for Tommy Rees, hiring a 30-year old offensive coordinator isn’t the end of the world. Not even getting into his stats from last season at Notre Dame, Rees will run exactly what Saban wants him to run on offense. If Saban says, “Tommy, I’d like to run it down their throats,” Rees will find numerous ways to make that happen. Just because one person decided he didn’t want to live in Tuscaloosa doesn’t mean it’s the end of Saban’s reign just because he had to go with his backup plan.
The ‘N’ In NIL Stands For Nick
Whether you like it or not, Nick Saban is also going to toe the line when it comes to NIL. It’s just who he is. Behind the scenes, Alabama is doing everything in its power to take care of its star players, while also launching its first public NIL space. I understand what Saban is talking about when it comes to having NIL discussions made public, which he’d rather keep inside the house.
Before you all start yelling at your computer that Nick Saban was the one who announced that Bryce Young had already secured a $1 million NIL deal, take a deep breath. There is always a tactic behind his words, letting it be known that they will take care of you once you get inside the program. Complaining about Jimbo Fisher “buying” his 2022 class did Saban no favors, but Saban doesn’t have a muzzle. He’s earned that privilege.
Also, while we’re on the subject of NIL, we certainly cannot forget the past, when Alabama was landing players because of “playing time.” The truth is, Nick Saban knows how to play the NIL game without having to get caught up in a pissing contest, like the one we witnessed surrounding Jaden Rashada.
Nick Saban probably sits at his desk every once in awhile and looks over at his six championship rings. And he probably has a brief chuckle.
In reality, Saban is sitting there with a smirk on his face, knowing he’s about to make life miserable for opposing college football teams, again, no matter what the pundits say.
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
Did Saban and Bama pay Trey for this puff piece?
Saban is the GOAT. I love Saban but I think his d coordinator position hire was the more important of the two. Steele is a good one but not sure he is at the top of his game. But as you said, it’s really Nick’s defense and how he wants it to run. My problem with that is I don’t think Nick is at the top of his game defensively either as he once was. I believe he needs to come up with some different concepts. Also, I think he complicates things on defense for his players. They sometimes play like they are afraid of making a mistake. I don’t believe he is getting the most out his really, really athletic players because of it.