Alabama football: No matter what college football throws at Nick Saban, he'll eventually adjust
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — If we’ve learned anything over the past 10 years, it’s that Nick Saban will eventually adjust to whatever changes college football brings and find a way to do them better than everyone.
It started with the hurry-up, no-huddle offense. Pundits and a lot of people outside Tuscaloosa questioned whether the game had passed Saban by as the uptempo attacks seemed to be Alabama’s kryptonite. All Saban did was bring in Lane Kiffin to speed up Alabama’s offensive change, which led to what we see now as Alabama owns the second-highest scoring offense in the country at 47.9 points.
With Alabama dominating the BCS era, winning three of four national championships from 2009-12, many thought adding the College Football Playoff would be the end of Saban’s run on top. After Ohio State defeated Alabama in the inaugural semifinal, naysayers poked their chests out even more. Since then, Saban and Alabama have won two of the last three championships and were one second away from winning three straight. Alabama is the only team in the country to make the Playoff in every year of its existence.
The latest obstacle for Saban and Alabama is the Early Signing Period. Alabama is usually in the SEC Championship Game and the Playoff, which can take away time from recruiting.
Last year, Alabama finished with *gasp* a top-five class, and not the No. 1 overall class, according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
Would the Early Signing Period take away Saban’s recruiting advantage? Was this the beginning of the end? In short, no.
Alabama reclaimed its spot atop the recruiting rankings in Year 2 of the Early Signing Period, inking 23 players on Wednesday. Alabama’s class features four 5-stars, with players coming from 10 states.
“I think we figured out that we needed to get ahead on more players,” Saban said Wednesday. “More and more players are going to make this their signing date, so you have to start the process earlier, you have to get more players in here earlier, you have to develop relationships with them. I think that’s what we did a little better. I think last year we sort of tried to save more spots for guys that didn’t sign early.
“Then with all the coaching turnover we had, we lost a lot of relationships with those guys, and I think it hurt us in the end. So this year we were probably a little more aggressive.”
Key word there is “aggressive.” Alabama was passive last year, holding spots for players they ended up missing out on. Now, Alabama is back to being the aggressor when it comes to recruiting. That should worry the rest of the college football world. Saban has figured this new signing period out just like he has with everything else.
We can spend hours talking about when Alabama’s dynasty will end or who will dethrone them, but it likely won’t matter.
Remember, whatever college football throws at Saban, he’ll eventually adjust and do it better than everyone else.