Alabama coach Nick Saban joined “flock” on Thursday to discuss the latest developments in an ever-evolving development college football the landscape and his expectations for both his team and the Heisman-winning quarterback Bryce Young this season.
Young, 21, is coming off an impressive 4,872-yard, 47-touchdown season that earned him the AP College Football Player of the Year and the SEC Offensive Player of the Year. Alabama went 13-2 with Young at the helm, losing in the CFP National Championship.
“This guy plays the position a little bit like a point guard in basketball,” Saban said of Young. “His decision-making, his judgment, his ability to create plays — whether he extends the play or if he makes a quick decision — it’s almost like he can see everybody on the court and he knows exactly that what to do. [and] when you do it. … Making quick decisions to distribute the ball and being accurate with the ball is really important.
“When I saw him do some of those things in high school, I said, ‘This guy is different.’
Saban also shared his thoughts on Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC and revealed whether he thinks the move will discourage some teams from adding another big non-conference game to the schedule.
“I’ve always been an advocate of Power 5 schools playing Power 5 schools,” Saban said. “I know some people … don’t agree with that … but I also think we have to really worry about the interest of the fans. The more good games we play, the more interest there is from the fans. I I’ve always been an advocate of playing more SEC games and always trying to play someone out of the conference that will create some fan interest.
“One of the best seasons we’ve ever had was that [COVID-19] year when we played 10 SEC games. … I liked this. The competition was great. It was difficult. We had a good team and we had success. … We didn’t play a game that season where people weren’t interested.”
Nick Saban weighs in on Texas and Oklahoma heading into the SEC
Colin Cowherd asks Alabama coach Nick Saban his thoughts on the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners moving to join the SEC.
Saban went on to share his philosophy on recruiting and why he continues to make it a priority at this stage of his career.
“I learned a long time ago [that] “I couldn’t coach bad players to play well, and when I realized that, I said, ‘Well, if you’re going to play his game, you better get some good players,'” Saban said with a laugh.
The one thing you would change today if you could? Recruitment calendar.
“I think when we had early signing day, a lot of people said, myself included, that this is going to happen of Signing Day,” Saban said. “When that started happening, everybody wanted to move the recruiting calendar up. … When you have to make decisions earlier on guys … it makes it a lot harder. … I think the nature of football is a developmental game, which may not give opportunities to guys who develop later.
“If there was one thing [that] I could change, maybe I would [to] move the recruiting calendar back to what it was and the signing date to February. I just think we’ve sped up the whole process… and I’m not sure about that [is] always the best thing for everyone.”
Alabama is aiming to become the first team since the 2017 Tide to start the season ranked No. 1 and go on to win the national championship in the same season.
This is the 15th year that Saban and Alabama have been ranked as the No. 1 team. 1 in the country at some point.
Saban, 70, just signed an eight-year contract extension with the Crimson Tide worth at least $93.6 million, eclipsing the last megadeal of Georgia coach and SEC rival Kirby Smart (10 years, $110 million). The deal averages $11.7 million per year and will keep Saban in Tuscaloosa through the 2029 season.
Entering his 16th season at Alabama, Saban boasts a 178-25 record with the Tide.
In his 26 seasons as a collegiate coach, Saban has compiled an all-time record of 274-67-1 (.803). His Alabama teams have won eight SEC championships, while Saban has 10 SEC titles to his name (2001 and 2003 at LSU).
Saban has led the Tide to six national titles (2009, 2011-12, 2015, 2017 and 2020). He also won a national championship as LSU’s head coach in 2003.
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