Nick Saban responds to Jimbo Fisher's comments about illegal men downfield
Earlier this week, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said he believes the widespread propensity of illegal men downfield on run-pass options cost Alabama a shot at the national championship game in 2013.
During the Iron Bowl that year, then-Auburn signal-caller Nick Marshall found a wide-open Sammie Coates for a game-tying touchdown with less than a minute remaining. The Tigers would go on to win with the famous “Kick 6” play and eventually lose to FSU in the BCS title game.
“The rules are bent for [the offenses]. It’s illegal,” he said. “What you do now on offense is illegal. It should never be a part of football, and I’m an offensive guy. When you can have linemen go 3 yards down the field and it is a pass, something is wrong with that. It gives false key reads, and guys are running the ball. It cost Alabama a national championship.”
During Wednesday’s SEC teleconference, Alabama coach Nick Saban was given a chance to give his thoughts on the comments. He was asked if there has been an effort to change plays like that:
“I do think it’s been a point of emphasis, at least that’s what we’ve been told,” said Saban. “I think there’s an effort to do it but it’s hard to see where everyone is when the ball is thrown. It’s tough on the defensive players to recognize. I think everyone is doing a good job on managing this.”
Saban on OL downfield: "I think it's been a point of emphasis. It's tough on a defensive player when blockers come downfield on a pass play"
— Alex Byington (@abyingtonTD) October 5, 2016
No. 1 Alabama (5-0, 2-0) will head to Fayetteville to face No. 16 Arkansas (4-1, 0-1) this Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.