Randy Smith: A Kinder, Gentler Nick Saban?

Friday, January 5, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
At 66 years old, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban seems to be mellowing out a bit. At least that's the impression I'm getting from observing his demeanor during the 2017 college football season. His ten year tenure at Alabama resembles a movie about a normal football coach who has sold his soul to the devil to achieve amazing success on the gridiron. Ten seasons in Tuscaloosa has produced four NCAA Championships, as well as six Championship Game appearances, four SEC titles and five SEC West crowns. He has also coached eighteen NFL first round draft choices in his time on the capstone and has amassed a 118-19 overall record. That's a superhuman like achievement.

While all that success makes one think he has most certainly sold his soul to the devil, many people think he could actually be the devil.
They call him Nick Satan and the fact that he was born on Oct. 31 (Halloween) gives them plenty of reason to make that assumption. 

What I see coming from Tuscaloosa is anything but evil. His players love him and so do his assistant coaches. And the Crimson Tide faithful? They think he's a god. He can still make reporters shrink under the table at press conferences but that's all a part of who he is. Tennessee fans may call him Satan, but remember they called Steve Spurrier the Evil Genius when he was beating them so often at Florida.

Coaches like Spurrier and Saban only come around every so often. They're cut from the same cloth as Paul "Bear" Bryant, General Neyland and  Bobby Bowden. They win an obscene number of games and championships but Saban's record at Alabama tops them all. Not all of Nick Saban's stops however have been this successful. He was more human like at Michigan State, and his tenure at LSU was really good with the 2003 National Championship. But his stopover at Miami in the NFL was anything but successful. When Mal Moore, Alabama's late legendary athletic director was looking to replace Mike Shula, he first offered the job to Rich Rodriguez who was fired this week at Arizona after sexual misconduct allegations. Saban was Moore's second choice, and the rest they say is now history.

While many have stated that Nick Saban's unbelievable success at Alabama is not good for college football or the SEC, I tend to differ. An example of that is the fact that on Monday night two SEC teams will play for the National Championship. Alabama is favored, but I picked Georgia to pull the upset.  Saban has forced the other teams in the SEC to either get better or continue to be embarrassed on the football field. That's why there were six coaching changes in the league this past season. Six of the fourteen SEC school,s will have new head coaches in 2018. That's what I call the "Nick Saban Factor."       

Saban has indeed mellowed out a bit since he came to Alabama ten years ago. He will still chew out someone's rear end with the best of them, that is quite obvious. But he may be more content now that he has gathered all the love from fans he can get as well as all the respect he could possibly receive from other coaches and the media.

So 'Bama fans enjoy him while you still have him. He is no where close to calling it quits, at least until he hangs two more National Championship banners in Tuscaloosa. That would give him seven titles; one more than Bear Bryant. I don't see him coaching past seventy, but you never know. It all may depend on his contract with Lucifer.

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