Paul Finebaum explains how Nick Saban's positive test changed everything for Alabama's defense
A week ago, there were major concerns about the Alabama defense following an offensive shootout, even with a win, at Ole Miss. Now the defense responded with a second-half shutout of Georgia. What changed?
SEC Network host Paul Finebaum has some answers, and he shared them on his regular Monday visit to “The Roundtable” on WJOX 94.5 in Birmingham, Alabama. Throw in coach Nick Saban’s positive test for COVID-19 and it may have caused a lot to change.
“Maybe when (Nick) Saban was home Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, he got a little more active in the defense, and I’m not saying he wasn’t already because I’ve had coaches tell me and I know they’ve told you, it’s ultimately Nick Saban’s defense,” Saban said. “Who’s to say he didn’t pick something up, he probably had a little more time to study film than he does normally.”
It may have been a fiery halftime speech, or simply a different offense than the high-flying Ole Miss variety.
“It looked like the previous two weeks for Georgia when they were shutting down Auburn and Tennessee. There’s really no words to describe how one week can change as dramatically as we saw,” Finebaum said. “But ultimately I think it helped to go against a style of offense that I think this Alabama defense was better prepared for and once they went into halftime and made a few tweaks, they were suffocating. I just want to say what a great job Pete Golding is doing, don’t you guys think?”
The Golding line drew laughter from the co-hosts, but it raised an interesting debate: How much is it the Golding defense or the Saban defense?
“I do think this is where historians will start to evaluate what difference did Nick Saban make,” Finebaum said. “Not that it matters now, but the interesting part is had he not been there, and couple weeks ago with the way things were with testing and the confusion, maybe he wouldn’t have been. Would the same result have happened? And I think he is that important. I’m not really stating anything that anyone in the audience doesn’t already know, but there’s a reason why he has the reputation he does and I think he got in there and whatever he did turned out to be one of the more dramatic turnarounds I have seen in a while.”