The end of the dynasty? Paul Finebaum believes Nick Saban's inability to keep continuity on the Alabama staff could signal trouble
Alabama fans have had all offseason to think about the program’s 44-16 loss to Clemson in the latest College Football Playoff National Championship Game and while the Crimson Tide are poised to start the upcoming season as either the No. 1 or No. 2 in the preseason polls, at least one notable SEC voice believes the end of Nick Saban’s dynasty could be in sight.
During his weekly Monday morning appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM program “The Roundtable,” SEC Network host Paul Finebaum was asked to share his reaction upon seeing recent comments from five-star high school receiver Julian Fleming, suggesting that he would have picked Alabama if the coaching staff didn’t experience so much turnover during his recruitment.
Instead of deciding to play for Saban at Alabama, Fleming committed to Ohio State this spring. Here are the comments Fleming shared regarding Alabama’s coaching staff following his commitment to the Buckeyes.
“Their coaching has been inconsistent,” Fleming said, via AL.com. “I’ve been recruited by two, three coaches there. You know, I want someone I can rely on.”
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“[Alabama is] a stepping stone for coaches now. They’re going to Alabama, and they’re moving up, because that’s just the process they go through. You know, Nick Saban is going to be there and is going to be reliable, but ultimately it was about I needed someone to coach me.”
Following those comments, Finebaum offered up his reaction during his latest appearance on “The Roundtable” on Monday morning.
“I read that article and I thought it was one of the most interesting pieces I’ve seen all summer. This is where people who are looking for a crack in the dynasty will land because having covered these things before, as you have, this is the first… let’s say the Saban dynasty ends in two or three years — this is the first crack. And I think it is a legitimate crack because Nick Saban, for all of his greatness, has been a disaster in terms of keeping a staff together and the argument goes back and forth, ‘Did he want these guys out or did they want to leave?’
“I saw it at the end of Bryant’s era, I’ve seen it at the end of other dynasties or great programs where there is so much inconsistency. It may not hit you the first year, it may not hit you the second year, but it has a cumulative effect. What changed last year? Alabama lost by 28 points. You can counter, ‘Well, they were undefeated.’ But that long ago, now the story of last season, we’ve heard the autopsy from Nick Saban in many different ways. And it was the coaching staff that cost Alabama a national championship. Someone will call in twenty minutes and say ‘We’re No. 2 in recruiting.’ That’s true, but if you just find a player out there and look at coaching staffs, the most consistent coaching staff in the country is at Clemson. Alabama’s has been inconsistent… Ultimately, the assistant coach matters a great deal, and that’s where Alabama has failed.”
While Finebaum isn’t predicting Alabama’s run will be coming to an end in the near future, he makes a good point as to how important these comments are for the Crimson Tide looking ahead to the coming season. We’ve already seen Alabama’s coaching staff cost the team a national title and with Kirby Smart’s Georgia program catching up to Saban’s dynasty and Texas A&M and LSU building up their programs in the West, Saban better hope he made all the right moves this offseason to keep his program ahead of a competitive league filled with potential spoilers in the years to come.