Former Miami players weigh in on Nick Saban's ill-fated tenure with the Dolphins
Though Alabama coach Nick Saban’s tenure with the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and 2006 is often remembered as a disaster, it actually wasn’t that bad, as Saban led the streaky Dolphins to a 9-7 record in 2005 and a 6-10 mark in 2006.
These days, some teams would give extensions to coaches who went 15-17 in two seasons. However, Saban decided to jump back to the college level in 2007, taking over at Alabama. The rest, of course, is history, as the legendary coach has won four national championships in the past 10 years.
Unsurprisingly, Saban brought the same level of discipline and hard-nosed style of coaching that he uses at Alabama to the NFL, according to MMQB.com’s Albert Breer, who spoke to a couple of Saban’s former Miami players:
“Nothing was ever good enough,” said DL Kevin Carter. “He wasn’t selling us on making it happen on gameday. It was every day, in practice, day-in and day-out.”
Though some professional players were obviously rubbed the wrong way by Saban’s intense style, Carter said the Dolphins were definitely better off for it:
“It does work,” Carter says. “It made us tough. We had a sense of what excellence was. It wasn’t phony.”
As Breer points out, the Dolphins were doomed not by Saban’s coaching style, but by the decision to sign QB Daunte Culpepper over QB Drew Brees in the offseason before the 2016 campaign.
If Miami had made the right choice between Culpepper and Brees, it’s entirely possible Saban could be dominating at the NFL level right now, giving New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick a run for his money.