A New York Times best selling book could be put together on the all the things that makes Nick Saban and The Process that has made Alabama one of the elite programs of college football.
From recruiting, to developing coaches and a winning game plan, to instilling a championship culture and maximizing the talent of his players Saban could teach a masterclass...and that's just the major stuff. What separates guys like Saban from the rest are the little things.
AL.com did an article recently on one of those little things Saban and his staff do that I'd bet most coaches haven't even thought about.
The morning before each game, the Alabama staff meet and a summary of the crew assigned is shared to let coaches everything they need to know about their call history.
“We have a list of all the things they call become some crews call things more often than others. Some referees you know protect the quarterback and call roughing the passer. Some guys call more pass interference than others. Some umpires call a lot more holding so we always want to know what’s the history of what these crews call.”
That information is then shared with players before they hit the field.
It will come as no surprise that, of all penalties, pass interference is the moss difficult call to scout officials for when assessing the crews because it has the least consistency in how it is called.
Saban and his staff also provide feedback to the officiating crews post game in an effort for both the coaches and crew to improve, and to also find ways to better coach their players after they know exactly what officials are looking for.
"The only way that they have to improve what they do is if you ask ‘Why was this call and why was it called and then they give feedback. And sometimes they admit they that what they did was maybe not exactly right but it gives them an opportunity to know it and it gives you an opportunity to know how to coach the players.”
While the obvious takeaway here is another nugget that makes Saban so good, I think that there is also a lesson here on how coaches may be able to help bridge the gap between ourselves and officials during a time when the numbers in officiating are facing a crisis. Perhaps that's an article idea for another time.
Head here to read the full piece from AL.com.