Nick Saban Embraces Challenge of Evolving Offensive Schemes
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is entering his 28th season as a head football coach. During his tenure he has won seven national championships, 10 conference championships and has coached three Heisman Trophy winners. Saban joined Nick Cellini and Chris Domino on 680 The Fan to discuss what keeps him motivated despite being college football's third-oldest coach.
"Every year in college football is like taking a new job. You lose 25% of your team, new roles for new people, new leadership, new coaches in our case, when we lose guys who get better jobs. Every year, about, the next morning after the last game like, 'ok, we're starting all over here, so what do we have to do?'. So that's where the challenge comes from," said Saban.
Alabama is no stranger to roster turnover and replacing coaches. The Crimson Tide sends multiple players into the NFL each season, creating holes to roster when players leave early. Saban has utilized seven offensive coordinators and five defensive coordinators in the 14 years he's been in charge in Tuscaloosa.
On top of the ever-changing personnel Saban has seen the style of college football evolve into the product we know today. Offense has become the name of the game with rule making it easier to move the football and that has reinvigorated the veteran coach.
"I mean, it's challenging as a defensive guy to be able to adapt and adjust to the way the game is played now. I think the rules in college football has sort of ignited the change throughout the game," said Saban. "Blocking three and a half yards down the field on a pass play which leads to RPOs is a dramatic change in the way you play football you need to be spread out to do that.
To be able to block downfield on a pass behind the line of scrimmage, which is just a rule that applies in college football, changes the game in terms of how you throw screens and how you pick people and run people in the flat. Those are real challenging things to try to defend because they all create tremendous run-pass conflict for defensive players. I would be bored if we were still running the I-formation if I was a defensive coach. It's very challenging, a lot of adjustments to be made but it's also fun to watch for the fans because it's more points scored."
Alabama is 165-23 under Saban and show no signs of slowing down, fans of the Crimson Tide can thank a constantly evolving landscape that keeps the coach engaged.