Every coach who feels so inclined has had ample time now to give his thoughts on the NCAA’s new recruiting and hiring rules, a list that now includes Nick Saban.
The SEC began its annual spring meetings in Destin on Tuesday, and Saban took his turn at the podium to criticize the new recruiting calendar which calls for a December 20-22 signing period and official visits in April, May and June.
“If we’re going to have an early signing date (December) is the best one we can have, but the fear is that that will become the Signing Day,” he said. “By having an early signing date, now everything revolves around December 20, and that’s everybody wanting to take visits during the season — which is not the best time to take official visits — or now we have to change the recruiting calendar and have April, May and June, which we’re considering now to have official visits.”
Earlier Tuesday Bret Bielema estimated between 75 and 90 percent of his class would sign in December, lending credence to the theory The Third Wednesday in December would become the new First Wednesday in February. Most estimates hover between 60 and 70 percent of players are committed and ready to sign by December, hence the December signing day. This indicates not much would have to change to accommodate the new signing period. Or maybe it says we could do the December signing period without the spring and summer official visits.
Saban certainly thinks so.
“To be honest with you, as hard as you think I work, I like the fact that from June 17 to July 15 our guys are on vacation,” he said. “They’re not going to be on vacation because we’re going to be recruiting during the summer. I just don’t think some of these things have been really well thought out. I don’t think it creates a real advantage for anybody. There’s some people that say the student-athlete wants the opportunity to take these visits earlier on.
“Sometimes less is more. It’s not always, ‘Move it up, do it faster, be the first one.’ And that’s where we’re getting to. I don’t see that there’s a whole lot wrong with the calendar that we have now. It’s worked really, really well for college football for a long, long time.”
The AFCA’s rebuttal to Saban’s argument would be this:
Berry said FBS coaches are "unanimously in favor of a mid-December signing period." Proposal calls for June and December signing periods.
— Jeremy Crabtree (@jeremycrabtree) January 11, 2017
By the way, Saban did not attend that meeting.
Saban was also asked about how to defend RPOs. His answer: there is no way to defend RPOs, certainly not as long as officials don’t call illegal man downfield penalties.
“I don’t think there’s any answer to RPOs,” he said. “You can run a running play, and the offensive line blocks a running play, the defensive player keys a run and a pass but it’s a running play and the quarterback (play actions) and then throws the ball because the safety doesn’t come down or does come down or whatever, there’s no solution to that other than you can’t go three and a half yards downfield to block, which is the rule in the NFL and some other places.
“Our 2011 team gave up eight points a game. The best defenses in the country give up twice that now. It’s going to continue to go that way. It’s very difficult to play defensive football if you can’t key the run and the pass.”
That sound you here is every single offensive coach in American football rushing to learn everything he doesn’t already know about RPOs.