Last night I attended the Atlanta area edition of the Crimson Caravan 2009, featuring guest speaker Nick Saban.It was my first time seeing Coach Saban speak in person, so I thought I would post my take on the evening.
There were several speakers, including Mal Moore (our Athletics Director), the womenís volleyball coach, the Dean of the College of Engineering, and of course, the last speaker was Coach Saban.The early speakers were entertaining.If I were a volleyball fan, I would have enjoyed the volleyball coachís talk very much.She was a good speaker, and definitely represented the university well.You guys can imagine what I thought about the Dean of Engineering.I wonít comment too much, but if I have to hear one more jackass say ďIf you can dream it, you can achieve it,Ē I think I might resort to violence.You know what, I dreamed I could travel through time last night; think I can achieve that, genius???
But we all know that nobody anywhere cares about volleyball players or engineers, so letís get back to the main topic, Coach Sabanís talk, which absolutely did not disappoint.Folks that know me know that I have never subscribed to the premise that coaches automatically know more about football than I do.As a matter of fact, Iím extremely confident that I could have done a significantly better job than several of our recent previous coaches.Yeah, I know, I have an inflated opinion of my football knowledge, but all that being said, I came away from Coach Sabanís talk thinking one thing; this guy knows his stuff!Seriously, his talk was very focused, and he gave several specific examples that were spot on.For instance, someone asked him what he was thinking at the end of the Florida game, and he zeroed in on the playcalling of the series immediately after Floridaís go-ahead touchdown, which is the exact sequence that I questioned in my summary of that game.I canít tell you how impressed I was, not only that a coach will admit a mistake, but actually know exactly where the mistake occurred and what was wrong with the decision.For someone that makes so few mistakes to identify the exact right moment was nothing short of phenomenal in my eyes.
Saban also showed that he has a really good sense of humor, and not the kind of humor that most famous people have.You know what Iím talking about, where a famous person can say ďThe other day I saw someone slip on a banana peel,Ē and the audience will fall out of their chairs laughing like idiots simply because someone famous said something that was supposed to be funny.No, Saban was actually legitimately funny.You folks that were there, Iím sure you remember that ketchup story.It was hilarious, and the fact that he told it in response to a question about recruiting, and was able to make a point with it was even more impressive.I know; why in the world does Sabanís sense of humor matter?I guess it doesnít, but I have always believed that a sense of humor indicates a general ďsharpness,Ē and I came away thinking that Saban is sharp as a tack.
Saban made some general comments about this yearís team, and Iíll briefly summarize them here.First, he actually seems to think very highly of Greg McElroy at QB, which I found very encouraging.Also, he hinted (without using any names) at the possibility of Nico coming in and playing in the middle, allowing Doníta to move to the outside where he could excel pressuring the quarterback.Along those lines, he also mentioned that new assistant coach Sal Sunseri is doing a fantastic job working with our defense to improve our pass rush.As you know, the lack of a pass rush really hurt us at the end of the season last year, so if indeed that aspect of our defense is improving, that bodes really well for this season.Finally, he addressed our offensive line, and even though he didnít provide any stunning revelations, the fact that he acknowledges the line as an area of concern is encouraging to me.We had horrific offensive lines for years under the previous regime and they seemed perfectly satisfied.Saban is working very hard to improve that area.
That pretty much covers the most important topics.He didnít guarantee a win against Virginia Tech next year or anything (quite the opposite, he sounds understandably concerned about that game), but he clearly believes that the talent level of our team is improving, and I get the impression that he never feels like we should lose any game that we line up and play.And as long as we have Coach Saban, Iíll never count us out either.
As always, feel free to send me any questions or comments.Until next time, Roll Tide!