When Nick Saban was hired we quoted the powerful lines of optimism: “Now is the winter of our discontent turned bright summer…And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house in the deep ocean buried.”

It is not summer now, but the spring is here with summer like warmth. It is the perfect time for players to confront the problems from the past: the all too common problems of indiscipline, laziness and fear.

Saban mentioned the problems from the past when commenting on the preseason conditioning program during his Thursday press conference: “The guy didn’t even make it through one workout,” Saban said. “He made a few pizzas. So what’s a guy telling me every day? Can we depend on this guy? I don’t care what you say. What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.”

The Huntsville Times described making a pizza: “which might tactfully be described as a second look at a recent meal.”


But Saban was upbeat about the future. He also said every player made some improvent during the conditioning program. And the improvement was needed with the dismal performances of the past.

As I’ve prepared for spring practice, I’ve consulted with outside coaches to learn about differences in the defensive schemes, what to expect with a move to a 3-4, etc. But perhaps the best thing I did to get ready for spring practice was to watch the best football movie of all time (and what is probably one of the best sports films of all time, because it ranks right up there with Pride of the Yankees), FACING THE GIANTS

The movie provides an intimate look at the life of a high school football coach. He faces losses in football, financial problems, car troubles, infertility and boosters who want him fired.

In the end, he has to confront his fear, and in the process he learns the purpose of his football team isn’t just to win football games, but something more…much more.

The film also played an interesting role involving SEC coaches. Georgia football coach Mark Richt has a small role in the film. And perhaps most interestingly is the film’s connection with Houston Nutt and the Arkansas team’s win over Auburn: The film was a hit with Houston Nutt’s squad and started a weekend they will always remember–The next day, October 7, Houston Nutt led his unranked team to the biggest upset of the college season, a 27-10 Southeastern Conference victory on the road over the No. 2 ranked team in the nation, Auburn.
“The team was into the football scenes,” Coach Nutt says. “I always sit in the back so I can eyeball what’s happening. They really liked the assistant coach in the film. They loved the truck scene. That was wonderful. They were really into it. The bear-crawl scene was great.
“On a personal note, my wife and I had five-and-a-half years of having trouble having children. I was back there bawling. The coach’s wife in the movie did a great job. The look on her face when she’s in the doctor’s office and she finds out she’s not pregnant – I’ve seen that look. I’m going to take my wife and family to see it.”

Any movie that helps a team get focused to beat Auburn is a good movie in my opinion.