So, Nick Saban’s at Alabama. People might call him a liar, a cheater, and everything else under the sun. I’m not going to rip on him, because his college coaching record, at 48-16, isn’t bad at all. He’s also won a National Championship in the toughest conference in the country, but now he’s going to a program still suffering from crippling NCAA recruiting sanctions only recently back to full strength.
So what can Saban can do to improve a program that’s doing its best to make Bear Bryant a distant memory?Manage expectations
Contrary to what people think in the Rammer Jammer Country, Crimson Nation won’t be going to a BCS bowl anytime soon.
Why? First of all, they play in the SEC. In the West, LSU and Auburn have been consistently the pick of the bunch in the last couple of years. Heck, they haven’t beaten Auburn since 2001. Remember, this is a team that only narrowly beat Vanderbilt and Hawaii this season, and struggled on both sides of the ball against the better teams. If Saban goes 7-5 in his first year (frankly, we seem him losing against Florida State, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU and, yes, Auburn), Crimson Tide fans should view it as a a success. If he wins the Crapshoot.com Bowl at the end of December, it’ll be even better.
Get the recruits back…legally!
The last time I looked, the University of Alabama was still recovering from the recruiting issues in 2001, when recruiting sanctions scuppered the program for a few years. Of course things have to improve, but it will take time. But with Saban, they can now look to recruit healthily in Louisiana and at the other side of the state. With a 48-16 record, everyone knows that above everything else, the man can recruit. After the kicking performance at Arkansas, can I recommend Saban starts going after a kicker first?
Saban will be kicking off with the right foot on Friday, because now the “dead” recruiting period is over, he’ll be hell-bent on trying to persuade five-star recruits from the round the country that he’ll make them an NFL success.
In other words, it’s all about 48-16 not 15-17 right?
After winning it all in 2001, people were expecting miracles in Florida. But unfortunately, they didn’t happen. Miami won a few games against the New England Patriots, but struggled to keep their heads above water during most of Saban’s tenure. Dante Culpepper made Fin Nation (and the press) believe that they could win it all in 2006, but once again, the fish aren’t going to the Bowl.
However, Saban was brilliant at LSU, with a 14-3 record (and one National Championship) in his last two years in Baton Rouge. LSU in those years were built on breathtaking speed on both sides of the ball…somethimg that Alabama have lacked for a while. Although Tyrone Prothro made many see the light with some highlight reel catches in 2005, the broken leg brought Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer down to Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer earth.
But the bottom line is….
Alabama were desperate, and they paid over-the-odds for Saban. Saban obviously saw the greenback and came running, but it wasn’t before being called a liar by every news organisation under the sun. Bama WILL get a coach who knows how to win, and does not live under the shadow of his father (like Mike Shula, son of the great Don Shula, did when coaching at Alabama). Bama will get a guy who can recruit in Louisiana and will start taking them from all the way round the country. But will Bama be good? Maybe in 2010. But not in 2007.