Alabama Football: Nick Saban develops talent and not just in players

Alabama football coach, Nick Saban develops coaches as well as he does players

When Alabama football coach, Nick Saban is correctly defined as a GOAT, it is often based on National Championships. Second to those milestones comes the extraordinary number of Alabama football players drafted by the NFL. Considering just first-round NFL Draft selections shows no coach has ever been better than Nick Saban.

Check out these details of Nick Saban’s NFL Draft success.

Nick Saban’s coaching tree is sometimes used as proof of Nick’s dominance in developing coaches. The tree is impressive, including many college and NFL head coaches and high profile assistants. Who to credit in coach development can be difficult. Young coaches regularly work under multiple head coaches as they grow their professional stature. How much credit should Nick be given for Louisiana Offensive Coordinator – Offensive Line Coach, Rob Sale? Sale was a Saban staff member as an offensive analyst and strength and conditioning assistant from 2007-2011. Since leaving Tuscaloosa, Sale spent three seasons as a McNeese State assistant, followed by a season as the Georgia offensive line coach. Between Arizona State and Louisiana, Sale has worked with or for Billy Napier for three seasons. Credit for his career growth cannot be given to only Nick Saban.

Matt Zenitz, writing for provides a detailed list of rapidly rising football assistants. Zenitz used anonymous feedback from more than,

20 coaches and high-ranking officials around college football and the NFL, including five head coaches.

The Zenith survey led to a two-part series. The depth of detail is superb. As Zenitz states, many college football fans acknowledge the higher-profile talent of guys like Georgia’s Defensive Coordinator, Dan Lanning and Tennessee’s DC, Derrick Ansley. Ansley and another well-known assistant, Glenn Schumann are former Alabama football staff members. Schumann worked for Nick Saban from 2008-2015 and is now on Kirby Smart’s staff at Georgia.

Though lesser-known, there are many other top assistants who are rising stars. Nine of them are shared equally by Alabama football, the Georgia Bulldogs and Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss. The Alabama Crimson Tide guys are Charles Huff, Freddie Roach and Karl Scott.

Most impressive is six more assistants who are former Alabama football staff members. None of the six were on-field assistants for Nick Saban. Like Rob Sale, these former Crimson Tide analysts have made career jumps. Doug Belk is Co-Defensive Coordinator and Safeties coach at Houston. Jake Peetz is the Quarterback coach for the Carolina Panthers. Kyle Pope is the Defensive Line coach at Memphis. Charlie Weis Jr. is the Offensive Coordinator at USF. Former Crimson Tide player and staff analyst, Wes Neighbors is the Safeties coach at FAU.

Next: Going back three decades, the best Crimson Tide linebackers

The obvious take from the work of Matt Zenitz is clear. Nick Saban is great at identifying coaching, as well as player talent.


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