Alabama Crimson Tide’s Nick Saban said defense is no longer the key to victory


KNOXVILLE, TENNEY. – Alabama coach Nick Saban is, after all, reluctantly relieved. He said that college football has officially become an aggressive sport.

Saban told ESPN on Friday, “It used to be that good defense makes good offense. Good defense can no longer beat good offense.” He said, “It’s just like last week. Georgia has a good defense because we take offense, and we scored 41 points on them [in a 41-24 Alabama win]. It is not the same as it used to be. If you were a good defenseman, it used to be that others were not going to score. You were always going to be in the game.

“I’m telling you. It’s not there anymore.”

And how does one sit with Saban, one of the leading defensive minds in the game and the architect of some of the more prominent strongholds in college football over the last two decades?

“I don’t like it,” he said with a smile. “But we just have to make sure that we have a crime that is like this and it is explosive, which we have.”

The No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide, who face Tennessee on Saturday at Neyland Stadium, have scored 35 or more points in each of their last 17 matches going back to the start of the 2019 season. He has scored more than 40 points in 13 of those 17 games. Saban said the winning teams last week in the SEC averaged 33.2 points.

“It’s hard to defend a coach now, because what everyone does is a lot of run-pass concepts,” Saban said. “I mean, it’s really, really hard for a secondary coach … because you get a lot of mismatches.”

While Alabama ranks fifth nationally in offense (48.5 points per game) and overall defense (561.3 yards per game), the Tide are 37th in scoring defense (28.8 points per game) and 61st in total defense ( 458.3 yards per second). sport).

“We’re not very good on defense, but I think we’ll get better,” Saban said, adding that being elite on defense should be particularly good in the secondary.

“We’re going there, but this group is [in the secondary] Not enough experience. You have to go through growing pains with these people because they see so much now in college football. We see something different every week. ”

Saban said that part of the difficulty of developing elite defensive backs and grooming them early in their careers is that most of the best athletes and skill players are now playing offense in high school and playing very few games on defense Huh. In fact, Saban said that he worked at the cornerback to prepare senior receiver DeVonta Smith at the Precimon Camp in an emergency.

“Any of these skills outweighs defense skills in junior, high school or whatever,” Saban said. “So the offense of all the best athletes is coming to an end. One of the best corners of our team is [Smith]. This year in camp, I trained him in the corner. He can cover anyone, and he never played defense in his life because he was on the offensive side. Don’t you think Jaylen Waddle would be a good defensive back? ”

Saban, who turned 69 this month, said last week when he initially tested positive for COVID-19, he only confirmed that he enjoys coaching and being on the field with the players.

But when someone thinks he can taste retirement, when he is isolated at home for those three days, he wants to think again.

Saban said, “If I was in the office every day, I would do everything right.” “I was meeting with the players on the zoom, like the zoom in the special teams meeting. I was in my regular seat. I was on the phone with the coaches during the defensive backs meeting, defensive meetings and practice.” When practice was over, we would watch tapes on defense, offense and special teams. ”

Saban joked that his wife Terry asked, “Is this what you do every day for 14 hours?”

Later that evening, he asked Saban if he wanted to walk on the lake.

“I said, ‘No, I have a meeting in 15 minutes,” Saban said.

Saban said the hardest part was waiting for the test result before the Georgia game. He required three consecutive negative PCR tests, according to SEC guidelines, the first test to remove a false positive, which Saban called an antigen rapid test on Friday.

Saban said, “I was just praying that I could get there.” “If the team didn’t play well or if we didn’t lose the game, I felt bad because I wasn’t there, because we lost because I wasn’t there, but I would have felt the same.” The players and coaches did a great job of not letting it affect them during the week. ”

Saban warned the players that this season was going to be full of disruptions and for them to hang. But he never thought it would be one of those disruptions.

Saban said, “I told him, ‘This is going to be the norm, that something is going to happen every week.” So when we had a team meeting on Wednesday after initially testing positive, I said, ‘You guys know that I haven’t received anything. But I said, ‘This is one of the disruptions I was talking about, and just because it’s me, we’re still going to manage it.’

“All the people in the building did a great job.”

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