Champions are master innovators. They don’t have a choice. When you’re number one with the target on your back, you have to find a way to stay a step above the rest. Innovation is one of Nick Saban’s most underestimated qualities. How did Alabama win back-to-back national championships? Sure, it’s a combination of all the things that Nick Saban has done in his tenure at Alabama, but innovation is at the nucleus.
Take for example, the loss to Texas A&M. Now granted, Nick Saban hasn’t had the chance to redeem this loss, but he will get a chance on September 14 at Kyle Field. Mere moments after walking off the field after a tough loss to the Aggies, I can only imagine the thoughts, words and feelings expressed by Nick Saban.
Saban and Kirby Smart quickly threw together a defensive tactic affectionately known as the “mush-rush.” The “mush-rush” essentially allowed Alabama to disguise their biggest defensive weakness in 2012, the defensive line. Players like Jesse Williams and Damion Square would pressure the quarterback, but in a non-aggressive pursuit. When the play would break down and an athletic quarterback like Johnny Manziel would take off to run, the defensive linemen could quickly shed the block and pursue the running attack.
The innovation didn’t stop there. Saban and the rest of the Tide’s expert recruiting staff made a mad dash for athletic defensive linemen to counter up-tempo, high octane offenses. Players like Jonathan Allen, A’Shawn Robinson, and Dee Liner will have the opportunity to make a big impact on the defensive line as freshmen.
Coach Saban’s latest innovative tactic drew attention from all around the SEC on the Crimson Tide’s first day of spring practice. Cyrus Jones and Christion Jones, starting wide receivers last year, and Dee Hart, former running back recovering from a torn ACL, were spotted working with the defensive backs. Although there is speculation that the move isn’t permanent for Christion and Cyrus Jones it is still an interesting development. It is well documented that Nick Saban takes pride in developing defensive backs. Take for example players like Dee Milliner, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Mark Barron, just to name a few.
Sometimes you just have to stir the pot to keep things fresh. Nick Saban is a champion. He’s a master innovator.
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