SEC Media Days: Nick Saban talks roster, no-huddle offense

Nick Saban took to the podium at SEC Media Days 2013 and talked about the 2013 Alabama Crimson Tide including his roster, challenges. Saban addressed questions about the no-huddle offense and how to defend it.

Alabama Football Roster Management

Nick Saban spoke at SEC Media Days 2013

Nick Saban spoke at SEC Media Days 2013

Saban provided clues about roster turnover in college football.

“It’s a challenge each year to reinvent your team. You always lose good players. You always lose about 25% of your team in college,” Alabama football coach Nick Saban said. “So, it creates new opportunities for other players who may not have the same experience. It also creates new roles for players who have been a part of the team, but now maybe have to assume a little different role.”

Within this discussion of the 2013 Alabama football team, you can see the basis of Saban’s much-maligned roster management. Saban’s experience tells him that there will be turnover. While variable, his experience tells him that it will be within a certain range. This is one of the many reasons it pays to listen to Nick Saban’s comments—they are always filled with important points big and small.

Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban on No-Huddle Offense

From the official transcript Q&A’s on the No-Huddle Offense:
Q. Other than a rule change, how can you get better at defending no-huddle offenses?

COACH SABAN: I think preparation is really an important part of that. When people play fast, I think it takes defensive players out of their rhythm a little bit. I think we obviously need to practice that way more often.

I think you have to adjust your system so there’s not a lot of terminology, that you have quick calls that can get in the game quickly, players can get lined up, get focused on what they need to do to execute.
I think that last year just about everybody went no-huddle against us. I think we actually got better as the year went on in defending it. But I think it’s one of the goals in the off-season that we need to practice and spend more time with our players so they have a better chance to adapt to it.
Q. What is your view on a rule change for a protective window against up-tempo? How much can a guy like Tyler Siskey help you with the nuances of an offensive division rival at Ole Miss?

COACH SABAN: Well, I think what we try to do this year, the rules are clearly defined. We know exactly what to expect in terms of what we have to play against. We are focused on trying to prepare our team to play against that.

I don’t know that there will ever be any rule changes that affect the up-tempo teams.

There’s only two questions that I’ve ever had. You’ve heard me talk about this before, I’m not going to speak on it now. I don’t have the answer to these questions. Should we allow football to be a continuous game? Is that the way the game was designed to play?

And the second part of it is, and I don’t have the answer to this, is an increased number of plays that players play in the game, is there any safety issues in that? They play like 64 plays a game in the NFL. We play over 80 in college. The up-tempo teams play even more than that. The cumulative effect of that is a player is playing 25, 30 more plays a game. Is there any safety issues in that?

I don’t know the answers. I think these are the questions that need to be asked to know whether there needs to be any rules that affect the tempo of the game.

Q. Can a guy like Tyler help you understand the nuances?
COACH SABAN: Not really. I mean, we played against it enough. Tyler is very good at what he does. He’s in the recruiting part of our organization. I’m sure he’d be a fine coach if he ever chose and had an opportunity to do that. But that’s not the reason that we hired him.

I think we understand what the other team’s doing. It’s pretty much trying to get our players to be prepared so that they can play well against it.