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Inside the headset communication structure between Nick Saban and his assistants on game day


Earlier this week, provided a very interesting look inside of the headsets of Nick Saban and his Alabama assistants.

The communication between the coaching staff on game day can best be described as a well-orchestrated symphony; everyone knows their role, what is expected of them, what they should be watching, and what kind of stuff will not be tolerated. Mario Cristobal's chose one word to describe it - "military-ish".

A lot of the information was aimed at the casual fan, but there was also some really, really valuable insight on how the Crimson Tide structure their sideline communications and it's the kid of information that coaches would treat as good as gold.

WRs coach Billy Napier on his duties from the press box: Napier has his focus on the down and distance, and field position, which he relays to offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin on the sideline.

"Within the series, it's pretty hush-hush when we have the ball because time is critical. [Kiffin] has his thought process when you just give him the information he needs and goes."

When the Tide are on defense Saban is:"I'm on the defensive headset getting the call, knowing the situation, the personnel, know what everybody's supposed to be doing out there and nobody's talking except the guy in the press box. The first thing he says is what is the personnel and call out the personnel so we can match personnel, whether we're playing regular, nickel, dime, dollar or whatever we're going to play. After that, there's nothing else said."

OLBs coach Tosh Lupoi: Tosh asks the booth about issues in run fits and changes in the team's pass protection.

OL coach Mario Cristobal on accountabiltity and knowing what's going on:"You're not watching the game. You're assessing. You're calling and making adjustments and it requires a tremendous amount of eye discipline."

"Everybody is accountable to be able to give a full and detailed assessment of each and every play, and you better be ready to answer that. Don't let a play go wrong and not have an answer for it. It starts at the top with Coach Saban. He holds us accountable. We hold each other accountable."

"It's way different from anything I've ever experienced. You grow a lot as a coach. You can't imagine the detail we get into."

RBs coach Burton Burns: "We have a good idea of what we want to do, so we're talking about those things. Is that the same? Is something changing? If it is changing, what do we have to do? It's a lot of that type of communication."

"Most of it is because of preparation, some things that you already know and take advantage of. As a group we all do it together. Between series, you make the adjustments."

Saban on needless "extra chatter":"We don't need a commentator telling us what happened on the last play. We need to be focusing on the next play. There's a lot of coaches that like to talk about what happened on the last play like fans. 'Oh, he dropped the ball. He was wide open and dropped the ball.' We don't need that. I don't need any commentary. We're trying to focus on the next play."

If guys aren't focusing on what they're supposed to be doing, the article points out that Saban gets "cussin mad when guys aren't supposed to be talking, are talking on the headset. It wastes time."

Read the full piece here.