An open letter to Coach Nick Saban

(from an admittedly ‘spoiled’ fan)

By Ray

First off Coach, I want to say that I still think you’re the best coach in college football today and I wouldn’t trade you for 10 Gus Malzahns. And I mean that sincerely.

But we all make mistakes. Many were made in Auburn, AL Saturday night that cost our team the game and a shot at a third national title in a row. I’m the first to tell Alabama fans in my circle of friends that you can’t win them all. But this was flat out an unnecessary loss.

I know I don’t have to tell you Coach that it’s your job to put your players non the best position to win. Already many questions are being asked about decisions made during the course of the game. But mine starts at the coin toss.

Coach, the next college football game I’m coaching in will be my first. I can’t build a watch either, but I can tell time. And it’s time somebody told you:

Taking the ball on offense first after winning the toss at home is a questionable call. On the road, it’s just plain dumb. This is a call you’ve made since you came to Alabama and I’ve heard your explanation for it and you’ve put your team in the hole on numerous occasions doing it (2009 National Title game comes to mind) and been lucky (and good) enough most of the time to overcome it.

This may come as a shock to you Coach, but the older generation of fans (of which I’m fortunately one) know there were great coaches around here long before you showed up. They taught us when you win the toss, you defer possession to the second half. ESPECIALLY ON THE ROAD.

You do this for two reasons. First, you want to give your defense the first opportunity to stop their offense out of the gate and set the tone for the game. Take their crowd out of it immediately. When we drove down the field and came back with ZERO points, they’re jacked, crowd’s jacked, mental points scored, advantage Auburn.

Second, you want the ball first in the second half to, again, set the tone for the most important part of the game, the last. (like Auburn did) We had them down two touchdowns going into the half. They scored before the half. THE LAST THING WE NEEDED TO DO WAS GIVE THEM THE FIRST POSSESSION IN THE SECOND HALF.

Auburn had momentum going into the half and, to their credit, came out of the locker room and used it to shove it in your face and erase the lead. It got them and their crowd back in the game. Again, mental points scored, advantage Auburn. BIGTIME.

I remember listening to a coach say one time that great players usually cover a coach’s mistakes. Going into the season I felt we had lost to many great players to repeat. (not sounding too spoiled, eh Ms. Terry?)

Fans will point to many questionable decisions during the course of the game. The failure to relieve an obviously nicked T. J. Yeldon. The calls on short yardage plays in the second half. Of course, the last play.

But there is the one call there is NO QUESTION about. No question you’re wrong about, Coach. For all the same reasons you, after winning the toss in OT, give your opponent the ball first to put their back against the wall, you do the same if you win the initial coin toss, especially on the opponent’s home turf.

This team was good enough to beat a good Auburn team. They were good enough to overcome bad decisions, on the field and the sidelines.

They weren’t good enough to overcome both. And it started from the jump. And one person can make that stop.

Coach, this fan loves you and what you’ve done for the University and our football program but please, make it stop.

Sincerely, A Spoiled Fan.


Add Yours
  1. 1

    This post gives me happy confidence that this is the last time Auburn will have to compete against Nick Saban in the Iron Bowl. He is so out of here it’s not even funny! No wait, it is. Y’all will regret your trash talking when we are playing against his Longhorns in two years for NC 2015.

  2. 2

    the only coach anyone should be worried about leaving for elsewhere is your’s, buddy.

    the hot coach right now is Malzahn.

    if Texas came calling, do you honestly think auburn can compare??

  3. 3
    Blake Bentley

    When you got a problem and you want to air it out then be a man and sign the damn letter. Don’t hide behind “Spoil Fan”.
    I question if you really are a “Bama Fan”. Maybe you are a Auburn fan that really wants Nick Saban gone becasue you now what is going happen in Tuscaloos in 2014.
    My name is Blake and I am a die hard Bama fan.

  4. 5
    Danny Anderson

    It’s hard for me to tell if you’re an Alabama fan or just anti-Auburn. How are you going to claim Saban is the best college coach but go on later and tell him what he should or should not have done? He’s a good coach, let him do his job (coach) and you do yours (write pointless articles). I’m sure he really cares what some blogger or any other “fanatic” has to say about his coaching decisions.

  5. 8

    Bama fans have figured out why they lost! It was the coin flip! Had nothing to do with the fact that they couldn’t stop Auburns run game.

  6. 9
    The Conduit

    I don’t agree that the coin toss decision makes Nick Saban deserve this kind of scrutiny, if any.

    Nick Saban, regardless of any coin toss, regardless of every team taking a bye-week before Alabama, regardless of a missed kick or a false start, regardless of the wind at 1.4 knots due East, regardless of rumors and hate mail and Sports Illustrated covers and the entire state of Texas, he still continues to put Alabama in a position for success.

    Coin toss or not, Alabama is still in the playoff series if it started in 2013, as they would deserve to be. Mistakes were made and the game came down to an epic fluke of a failure, not a coin toss.

    • 10
      Yea WAR EAGLE

      Heak bama did good having to play the whole field . There use to getting the ball handed to them on there side of the field. Going 80 yds is harder then 30 or 40 yds like there use to . O well darn good game always next year. Maybe ……….

    • 11
      # 1 al. fan

      I agree Conduit!! Here’s a Coach who has won 3 Natty’s in the last 4 years how many coaches can say that! In this era of modern day football its extremely hard to win back-to-back championships let along 3 in a row. No this loss was embarassing cause it was at the stockyards in Lee County. The aubies deserve their joy in this win simply because they don’t have these moments very often and after awhile they’ll settle down and go back to tending their cows…… RTR

  7. 12

    How can any true Bama fan criticize a one loss, even if it was to Auburn. Think about where were was before Coach Saban came to Alabama. We should be backing our coach. Not telling him what he should have or shouldn’t have done.

  8. 13

    There were many errors made in the game. It was one of the sloppiest Bama games I have ever seen – in spots – not continuously. But I don’t blame Coach. The team looked uptight and some of the coaching decisions did too. They are only human. As for taking the ball, it was not a bad decision. Our offense against any defense, especially the one Awbie showed all season is a good gamble. Untimely penalties and a few too many runs up the middle is what caused several drives to stall; and if we had hit the field goal, that would have been the difference in the game. Any field goal would have been the difference in the game. When was the last time we missed four or more field goals? LSU 2011. Same kicker too. I know he’s just a kid, but he’s picked the two wrong games to kick like a girl in. He didn’t just miss the field goals, he nearly missed three out of four extra points. I hold no hard feelings toward him, but I’m glad he’s gone after the Bowl Game. But there were other errors. What is it with the continuing motion penalties from the Kwandijo brothers. Just no excuse. Then on the 4th and one, it was just completely unbelievable. Awbie put eleven in the box. I mean eleven! I was looking at that crap where every Awbie player was lined up in a tight bunch, with not one player playing back and the entire wide side of the field open, and I said “Oh God please don’t run TJ up the middle”. Has AJ ever heard of a damn audible? I mean how stupid can anybody be. That HAD to be a pitch wide or a play action. HAD TO BE! But somebody just HAD to play Macho Man! Then there was the dumb holding by OJ Howard on TJ’s first down run to the 5. Man, the play was away from Howard’s side of the field and by the time he was called for holding TJ was 10 yards away and running in the other direction. Useless penalty. But what was more ridiculous was the offsetting personal foul penalties. If the call had been against the Awbie man, it would have been a first down at the 2-1/2 yard line. The dumbass official was looking right at the whole thing. He saw DeAndrew push the Awbie away because he was still twisting his torso after the play was over. then he saw the Awbie punch DeAndrew in the head. He saw DeAndrew retaliate with nothing more than a push away. And he saw the Awbie actually attack DeAndrew. Now DeAndrew should have just walked away at that crucial point in the game, but shoving away another player is not in itself a personal foul. Punching a player in the head is!!! A for the final field goal try, I agree with it. He kicks 60 yard field goals in practice. It was the one real opportunity to end it without the danger of overtime. In the history of college football, in the hundreds of thousands of games of all time; there have been only four 100 yard TD returns after missed field goals and that was #4. On ESPN’s forums it is being called the greatest play of all time. Now really, what the hell can you do against something like that? Actually nothing, because it should have never happened. Awbie is crowing about all their rushing yards, but they only got them in spurts. They only had four long drives in the whole game and they scored on each one. There were many other drives in which Bama’s defense just slaughtered them. And before they get too high and mighty they should remember that Georgia Southern ran for over 300 yards against the Best defense of all time in 2011. I’m not really making excuses. Playing a bad game is playing a bad game. Awbie didn’t make the mistakes and Bama did. But reverse just one of those unforced mistakes and Bama wins the game. I’ll say this, I have never in 50 years of football seen a team as consistently and RIDICULOUSLY lucky as Awbie. Makes me think someone there has sold his soul to the Devil. Is that you Pat??? OK. Congratulations Awbie. You’ve busted your ass and you deserve what you’ve achieved. Just remember two things: 1 – If you lose to Mizzou, Bama will still end up ranked higher than you. 2 – If you beat Mizzou and both Ohio St and Fla St lose next weekend you will get your worst nightmare – a rematch with Bama on a neutral field. Here’s hoping for the best. RTR!

  9. 14

    Good grief. Let it go.

    We lost, dumb decisions and all. The sun rose the next morning, and we still have three natty’s in four years, two of them back-to-back.

    Losing hurts, but this is a good (not great) Auburn team that was playing downhill against Bama from the opening whistle.

    Auburn played their tails off, put themselves in a position to win, and did it. They deserve all the credit, and to them I say good luck their next two games.

  10. 18
    Denny Chimes

    This has to be the worst post on this site since that idiot Dale was picking games every week, You only bring more joy to our enemies by writing tripe like that. It does no one any good on our side. Not the players or fans. Just the barners.

    Luckily, stuff like this is just “noise” to Saban. He won’t listen and he’ll keep bringing crystal to Tuscaloosa.

    Let the barners gloat and just nod and smile. And realize that blind squirrels find nuts every once in a while.

  11. 19

    As an you have become complacent & spoiled (two things the Bear never became) and you have proven to no be Bear incarnate. PLEASE humble yourself, ADMIT it was YOUR FAULT we loss and REPENT. You a just a man, a great coach, but just a man. You must LEARN from your mistakes and saying that you’ve never seen that happen is NO EXCUSE for you not preparing for it happening. Everyone here at my house said, “I hope he doesn’t miss and Auburn run it back” somewhat jokingly, BUT YOU as the COACH should have played that scenario!!! You get paid how MUCH, and for WHAT??? Times like these, that’s what!!!! You’re not Ipad to prance around town so you and your wife look like the homecoming KING & QUEEN, you’re paid to COACH & WIN, THAT’ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Straighten up or LEAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. 20

    As a COACH you have become complacent & spoiled (two things the Bear never became) and you have proven to not be Bear incarnate. PLEASE humble yourself, ADMIT it was YOUR FAULT we loss and REPENT. You are just a man, a great coach, but just a man. You must LEARN from your mistakes and saying that you’ve never seen that happen is NO EXCUSE for you not preparing for it happening. Everyone here at my house said, “I hope he doesn’t miss and Auburn run it back” somewhat jokingly, BUT YOU as the COACH should have played that scenario!!! You get paid how MUCH, and for WHAT??? Times like these, that’s what!!!! You’re not paid to prance around town so you and your wife look like the homecoming KING & QUEEN, you’re paid to COACH & WIN, THAT’S IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Straighten up or LEAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. 22

    Here’s the deal-

    Auburn will win this game (Iron Bowl) on occasion. But when they do it will always be a close finish. You’re not going to see the Aubs outclass Bama with 49-0, 42-14, or 36-0 type scores. They won, but only because Bama played their worst game of the year.

    For Aub, it’s another one of their flash-in-the-pan years. How many games will they win next year?…and the next?

    Right now Malzahn is the greatest thing since sliced bread. But isn’t that what they said about Cheeznikz back in 2010?

    • 23
      Yea WAR EAGLE

      Ha……. Live with it they had to play for once . It was not handed to AUBURN . An please don’t count your eggs yet . The EAGLE may not be done laying them yet,

  14. 24

    First… Ray is smart to not reveal his name. The same sick ass crowd would want to kill him… like Cade. I can only post that the State game really was the warning that the engine was not hitting on all cylinders and there was a serious mental burnt out at play….. the team was not prepared in any sense …. but then again…. if you are mentally clocked out…. it really does not matter. None of these Auburn Fans that post here… deserve any kind of congratulation. My opinion of them will never change.

  15. 25

    First point about why you want to defer is dumb. Yes, if you get a stop on the opponent’s first drive, you set the tone, take the crowd out, etc. On the other hand, if they score on their first drive, you’ve just let them set the tone. It all comes down to who’s successful.
    Likewise, if you go on offense first and score, you set the tone, take the crowd out, etc. whereas if you go on offense first and don’t, you’ve just let them set the tone. Either way, it depends oh who ultimately wins the first drive.

    Second point is dumb too; it depends on how successful you are. If, by virtue of that extra possession, you can go into halftime with a bigger lead, and you’re a team confident in its defense, the faster you can build a lead the better. This is especially true if you’re not a big play offense but rather a more methodical, consistent one like alabama has been of late.

    As far as the decisions on short yardage, the only questionable one was the successful one. Both auburn and alabama have to believe they can pick up a 4th and 1 on the ground; if you don’t think you can, you’ve already lost. Incidentally neither team could. The 4th and 7 was a questionable call, but after the penalty it ended up succeeding.

    As far as the final play, that’s the only one I think saban erred on. Your place kicker has been terrible all night. Your backup is a red-shirt freshman with 2 career kicks, never in high pressure situations. I don’t care if he made 60 yds in practice, we all know practice vs the iron bowl with the game on the line are different. And you’re attempting a long kick with an admittedly slow and heavy unit blocking rather than your cover team. Throw the hail mary, have your skill guys on the field, and go to OT if it fails. Admittedly a bad kicking game is a big disadvantage in OT, but if you’re gonna try to win it in regulation, that same bad kicking game isn’t the answer either.

    But remember bammers, it doesn’t come down to that one play. You didn’t beat yourselves. Auburn beat you, by winning at the line of scrimmage most of the night, by racking up nearly 300 yds on the ground. Bama may have been one play away going to OT (or a few if you’re talking about the missed fg’s), but by the same token, auburn was 1 bad tackle away from not trailing after the 99yd pass. 1 fumble away from not trailing going into halftime. 1 missed block in the back call from holding bama to worse field position. One missed punt coverage from having bama on the 1yd line thrice instead of just twice (stephen clark was an allstar). Give credit where it’s due on both sides of the field; how many mistakes you make is every bit a part of how good you “really are” as the rankings of your recruiting class.

    • 26

      Wrong. You don’t play stupid just because you think you can. When you just got stuffed with 8 in the box, you don’t run the same play with 11 in the box. Bama has too many wide plays that work every time to bullheadedly pull thatdumb macho shit. Any quick wide play would have gone for a TD. Then there was the bad, bad offsetting personal foul call when the only foul was the Awbie punching DeAndrew in the head. It should have been a ten yard holding against Bama and then a dead ball 15 yards against Awbie wiich would have left Bama with about 1 yard for a 1st down instead of 16. Even if we didn’t score 6, we would have had a chip shot for 3. As for your rushing yards, you had exactly 4 scoring opportunities in the game. Bama moved the ball much more consistently and had 8 scoring opportunities. Stupid play calling to try and keep from losing the game, instead of play calling to win the game as against Notre Dame and Texas A&M is why Bama lost.

      • 27
        A fan

        Auburn won, bama lost. That’s it. And since 1980 that’s the 18th time out of 34 games you can say that. For all of this pompous, blowhard BS the two teams have been very evenly matched. Auburn won, bama lost. Move on. That’s what happens about 50% of the time. Shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

        • 28

          Oh really? Thank you for bringing me up to date. I really wasn’t aware that Bama and Awbie first played in 1980 and that nothing before that counts. Wow! Stupid Weagle. RTR!

      • 29
        Indiana Vol

        Cry us a river Crimsonite! You are a delusional fool who got what you deserved Saturday for running that piehole!

        TOO BAD!

        • 30

          I’m not crying Volunqueer. I’m too pissed and disappointed in the game plan and play calling, to be crying. I’m too dumbfounded at the continuing Barnturd’s absurd luck, while Bama’s excellent kicker who has kicked a 54 yarder with room to spare and who had missed only once all year; goes and shanks 3 field goals and nearly missed 3 extra points. Bama got exactly what they deserved, I won’t argue that. But Awbie by the same token did not deserve to walk away with Bama’s place in history wirh a non answerable cheap shot like that. However, it is what it is, and it also ended the SEC’s and State of Alabama’s record runs. I personally think Mizzou is gonna kick Awbies Ass. I see no way that Awbie after stunning their two most hated rivals in consecutive games will be able to get motivated for a team they don’t even know. Muzzou is a very, very good team who knows the HUNH spread even better than Awbie. I think it will be a short lived glory, Weagle.

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